Information You Should Know


Boating Safety – It Could Mean Your Life


Recent data from the US Coast Guard reports that there were 4515 recreational boating accidents in the U.S. and its territories in which 651 lives were lost and 3,000 were injured. Almost 71% of the fatal accident victims drowned, and of these, 84% were reported as not wearing a life jacket. Seven out of every ten boaters who drowned were using boats less than 21 feet in length.


BWI (Boating While Intoxicated) is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; it was listed as the leading factor in 17% of the deaths. Operators with a blood alcohol level of 0.10 percent (for most of us, that means just one to three beers) are 10 times as likely to be killed in a boating accident as a sober boater.


What about the remaining four deaths out of every five? Additional contributing factors were operator inattention, operator inexperience, excessive speed and other improper operation, improper lookout, poor vision, faulty equipment, inadequate safety systems and devices, limited or inaccurate local knowledge, and ignorance of basic rules of the waterway.


ABA encourages every boater to be serious about boating safety, starting with the proper kind and amount of boater training. Remember, a boating mishap or fatality often involves innocent people who share in none of the blame, but all of the consequence. As a responsible boater, the life you save may very well be someone else’s.