2020 Recreational Boating Statistics Report Reveals 25% Increase in Boating Fatalities
The U.S. Coast Guard 2020 Boating Safety Statistics Report revealed a 25.1 percent increase in boating fatalities nationwide. As always, inexperience and drunkenness were leading causes of boating accidents but a significant increase in boating activity during the pandemic was likely a factor as well. It simply came down to more hours spent boating translating into more boating accidents and injuries.
If you or a loved one was injured in a boating accident because of the negligent or reckless behavior of another, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries. A boat accident attorney can discuss your legal rights and help you fight for a fair settlement.
2020 Recreational Boating Fatalities statistics
Here are the main statistics that came out of the report:
- There was a 25.1 percent increase in boating fatalities over 2019 with a total of 767 boating fatalities nationwide.
- The number of boating accidents increased by 26.3 percent; from 4,168 to 5,265.
- The number of boating accident injuries increased by 24.7 percent; from 2,559 to 3,191.
- Following the normal trend, alcohol was a leading known factor in fatal boating accidents that occurred in 2020. Eighteen percent (100) deaths were related back to alcohol use.
- The fatality rate was 25 percent higher than it was in 2019, increasing from 5.2 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels to 6.5 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. This is the highest fatality rate in the program’s recent history.
- These boating accidents caused approximately $62.5 million in property damage.
- The most common vessel types involved in the reported accidents were open motorboats, personal watercraft, and cabin motorboats. In boating accidents where the vessel type was known, open motorboats, kayaks and pontoons had the highest percentage of deaths with motorboats accounting for 50 percent, kayaks for 15 percent and pontoons for nine percent.
Top 5 causes of 2020 recreational boating accidents
The leading causes of recreational boating accidents in the report were:
- Operator inattention
- Operator inexperience
- Improper lookout
- Excessive speed
- Machinery failure
Reducing your risk of a boating accident
Operating a boat is a responsibility and getting behind the wheel without any training or safety information is not a good idea. Taking a boater safety course is the best way to reduce accidents. Where boating instruction was known, 77 percent of deaths happened on vessels where the operator had not taken a boater safety course.
Taking safety precautions is vital. Life jackets are especially important because where the cause of death was known, 75 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims where life jacket usage was known, 86 percent were not wearing a life jacket.
The Coast Guard reminds boaters every year to boat responsibly in order to reduce the risk of boating accidents:
- Wear a life jacket
- Take a boating safety course that meets the National Boating Education Standards
- Attach the engine cut-off switch
- Get a free vessel safety check
- Always boat sober
Seek the help of a boat accident attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced boat accident attorney fight for the full 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 personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!