Fatal boating accidents are on the rise

Fatal boating accidents have reached their highest numbers in the last five years, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s most recent Recreational Boating Statistics Report. From 2015 to 2016, the total number of deaths on the water reached 701, representing a 12 percent increase from the previous year.

Additionally, injuries increased 11.1 percent from 2,613 to 2,903 during that time. Overall, the total number of accidents was up 7.3 percent, rising from 4,158 to 4,463.

The leading factor in the cause of fatal accidents was alcohol, accounting for 15 percent of deaths. The top five causes of non-fatal accidents included:

  • Operator inattention
  • Operator inexperience
  • Improper lookout
  • Excessive speed
  • Machinery failure

The wearing of life jackets continues to be an alarming, if not confounding problem. Regardless of state or federal laws mandating their use, it represents the best way to prevent drowning and save lives, regardless of age, physical ability or condition.

Eighty percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned when the cause of death was known. Eighty-three percent were not wearing life jackets.

There is a reason that it’s called a life preserver.

The most common types of vessels involved in accidents were open motorboats, personal watercrafts and cabin motorboats. Open motorboats also made “top three” in accident fatalities, joined by kayaks and canoes.

In addition to wearing life jackets, the Coast Guard recommends proactive steps that can avoid injuries and death:

  • Take a boating safety course
  • Attach your engine cut-off switch
  • Take advantage of free vessel safety checks
  • Avoid consumption of alcohol or any other impairing substance

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Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne is an accomplished lawyer who practices in state and federal courts in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. He brings more than 30 years of experience and a long record of success to each case. His law practice is distinguished by careful preparation and thorough analysis of each case...

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