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Boating Fatalities on the Rise: Check Out the Stats

Boating Accidents


The rate of reported deaths from recreational boating accidents jumped by 25% in a one-year period, according to statistics recently released by the U.S. Coast Guard. Why? What can boaters do to protect themselves and others on the water? A Tallahassee accident lawyer explores the reasons for the considerable increase in boating fatalities and discusses how to reverse the deadly trend. 

The Recent Statistics on Boating Accidents

The news about boating fatalities comes from the U.S. Coast Guard’s 62nd annual report, which represents combined statistics from the Coast Guard, all 50 states, and all territories with federally-approved reporting systems. During the most recent calendar year, recreational boaters were involved in 5,265 reported accidents. Those accidents resulted in:

  • 767 deaths
  • 3,191 injuries
  • Approximately $62.5 million in property damage
  • A fatality rate of 6.5 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels

These figures represent an increase of 26.3% in the number of accidents and over 25% more fatalities than the previous year. The number of injuries also increased by nearly 25%. As a Tallahassee accident lawyer knows, in many cases, these injuries and deaths could have been prevented if someone had not acted negligently.

Causes of Boating Accidents and Fatalities

Not all accident causes are reported, but for those that were, alcohol played a leading role in fatal boating accidents. Alcohol contributed to 18% of boating deaths. The vast majority of deaths (75%) were caused by drowning, and 86% of drowning victims were not wearing life jackets.

In addition to alcohol usage, other factors contributing to the cause of accidents include:

  • Inexperience
  • Operator inattention
  • Lack of proper lookout 
  • Excessive speed
  • Equipment failure

Lack of proper instruction also probably played a significant role in boating accidents. Of the cases where the operator’s training status is known, only 12% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator received a safety education certificate from a nationally-approved source. 

How to Reverse the Deadly Boating Accident Trend and Keep Yourself Safe

These statistics make certain safety factors clear to an experienced Tallahassee accident lawyer. Boaters who want to keep themselves, their passengers, and others they encounter on the water safe should obtain appropriate safety training and refrain from alcohol use. 

Additionally, those who operate boats and personal watercraft such as jet skis should insist on all those aboard wearing approved life jackets. Even the best swimmer can drown if they are severely injured or knocked unconscious in an accident. 

Our Tallahassee Accident Lawyer is Here to Help After a Boating Accident

In far too many cases, a boater’s negligence results in serious harm to others who were trying to behave appropriately. If you or a loved one suffered injuries or death in a boating accident that may have been caused by another person’s failure to follow proper standards, you could be entitled to compensation to make up for some of your losses. Call an experienced Tallahassee accident lawyer at 888-549-7011 or contact us online for a free, confidential case evaluation to learn how we could help.

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