2017 Boating Accidents and Injuries: Statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard
Summer is boating season and that means thousands of people will be out on the water every day. It’s important to understand the risks and safety tips for boating before setting out. Recreational Boating Statistics released in May, 2018 showed a decrease in recreational boating deaths, boating accidents, and boating injuries in 2017.
2017 boating accidents and injuries: statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard
- 4,291 boating accidents.
- 658 boating accident-related deaths.
- 2,629 boating accident-related injuries.
- About $46 million dollars of property damage from recreational boating accidents.
- 76 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned (where cause of death was known) and of those where life-jacket use was reported, 84.5 percent were not wearing a life jacket.
- The leading cause of fatal boating accidents was alcohol use. Where the primary cause of fatal boating accidents was known, alcohol was the leading factor in 19 percent of deaths.
- 31 people died and 162 people were injured in boating accidents where a person was struck by a propeller.
- Where it was known if a skipper had taken a boating instruction course, 81 percent of deaths happened on boats where the skipper had not taken a safety course compared to 14 percent who had.
- Where it was known what type of boats the fatal accidents happened on, motorboats accounted for 47 percent of deaths, kayaks for 15 percent and personal watercraft for seven percent.
These numbers represent a 3.9 percent decrease in boating accidents, a 6.1 percent decrease in boating accident-related deaths and a 9.4 percent decrease in boating accident-related injuries over 2016.
Prevent a boating accident with these boating safety tips
- Take a boating safety instruction course before operating a boat
- Stay far away from the propeller
- Always wear a life-jacket
- Avoid distracted boating (cell phones, tampering with gadgets)
- Avoid boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Boating safety tips when alcohol is on board
- Designate a sober, responsible and qualified skipper who can also drive the boat away on a trailer if necessary.
- Bring a cooler with plenty of water and snacks/food.
- Anyone drinking should be wearing a properly fitted life jacket at all times.
- Take the pledge to designate a skipper or be the sober skipper.
Washington State laws against boating under the influence
Washington State boaters may be penalized if they are caught operating a boat under the influence (BUI). The legal limit for operating a boat under the influence of alcohol is 0.08 and the legal limit for operating a boat under the influence of marijuana is 5.0 nanograms. The law is applicable to boat operators of all types including non-motorized boats such as canoes and kayaks.
Officers with probable cause may ask a boat operator to take a breathalyzer test. If the boater refuses he or she may be fined and issued a Class 1 civil infraction. Boaters who take the test and are found to be over the legal limit may be charged with a gross misdemeanor punishable up to a $5,000 fine and a year in jail.
If you have lost a loved one or been injured through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the justice and fair compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring, tireless and experienced personal injury attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County and surrounding areas since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!