RECREATIONAL BOATING SAFETY FACTS

All figures are from the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2016 Recreational Boating Safety Statistics, the latest official record of reported recreational boating accidents. Full report available at: http://uscgboating.org.

  • Drowning was reported as the cause of death in 80% of all fatalities.
  • Approximately 83 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.
  • In 2016, the Coast Guard counted 4,463 accidents that involved 701 deaths, 2,903 injuries and approximately $49 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.
  • The fatality rate was 5.9 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. This rate represents a 11.3% increase from last year’s fatality rate of 5.3 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.
  • Only 13 percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction.
  • Operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, excessive speed and machinery failure as the top 5 primary contributing factors in accidents.
  • Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Where the primary cause was known, alcohol was listed as the leading factor in 15% of deaths.
  • Where data was known, the most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents were open motorboats (47%), personal watercraft (18%), and cabin motorboats (15%).

National Recreational Boating Statistics

  • Fatalities: 701
  • Drownings: 509
  • Injuries (requiring medical treatment beyond first aid): 2,903
  • Boating Accidents: 4,463
  • Property Damage: $49,124,633.91
  • Number of registered recreational boats in the U.S.: 11,861,811

Life Jackets Save Lives

Top-Ranking States for Boating Deaths

  1. Florida: 70
  2. Texas: 53
  3. California: 47
  4. Michigan: 38
  5. Louisiana: 24
  6. North Carolina/South Carolina (tie): 23
  7. Georgia/New York (tie): 22
  8. Virginia: 21
  9. Wisconsin: 20
  10. Alaska/Oregon (tie): 19

Top-Ranking States for Reported Boating Accidents

  1. Florida: 684
  2. California: 386
  3. New York: 188
  4. Texas: 176
  5. Maryland: 150
  6. North Carolina: 143
  7. Missouri: 137
  8. South Carolina: 136
  9. Michigan: 125
  10. Tennessee: 116