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Boating Safety Statistics

Sailboat on the rocks

 2015 Boating Safety Statistics

As the nation’s lead agency concerned with maritime safety, the U.S. Coast Guard compiles boating safety statistics each year.

Read the Coast Guard's full report: 2015 Recreational Boating Statistics

Key findings of the 2015 report:

  • 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 by 2.4%. Almost seventy-six percent (76%) of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those, almost eighty-five percent (85%) were not reported as wearing a life jacket. Life jackets save lives!

  • Eight out of every ten boaters (80%) 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 boating accidents.

  • Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; it was listed as the leading factor in 17% of the deaths.