2015 Recreational Boating Statistics

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In 2015, the Coast Guard counted 4,158 accidents that involved 626 deaths, 2,613 injuries and approximately $42 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.

The fatality rate was 5.3 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. This rate represents a 1.9% increase from last year’s fatality rate of 5.2 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.

Compared to 2014, the number of accidents increased 2.3%, the number of deaths increased 2.6%, and the number of injuries decreased 2.4%.

Where cause of death was known, 76% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims with reported life jacket usage, 85% were not wearing a life jacket.

Where instruction was known, 71% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction. Only 15% percent of deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had received a nationally-approved boating safety education certificate.

There were 158 accidents in which at least one person was struck by a propeller. Collectively, these accidents resulted in 27 deaths and 150 injuries. Eight out of every ten boaters who drowned were using vessels less than 21 feet in length.

Operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure, and excessive speed rank as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents.

Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 17% of deaths.

Twenty-two children under age thirteen lost their lives while boating in 2015. Twelve children (55%) died from drowning. Two children (17%) of those who drowned were wearing a life jacket; half of the remaining ten children who were not wearing a life jacket were not required to do so under State law.

Where data was known, the most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents were open motorboats (45%), personal watercraft (19%), and cabin motorboats (17%).

Where data was known, the vessel types with the highest percentage of deaths were open motorboats (46%), kayaks (12%), and canoes (11%).

The 11,867,049 recreational vessels registered by the states in 2015 represent a 0.5% increase from last year when 11,804,002 recreational vessels were registered.
Admiral Sanstrom Laxness
SLCG Commandant
Sanstrom Laxness
 
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