Citing 610 boating deaths, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that 2014 saw the second lowest number since records have been kept starting in 1972. Only 2013, with 560 recorded boating deaths, fared better.
The Guard’s “2014 Recreational Boating Statistics” notes that the number of accidents increased by two, to 4064, and resulted in 2678 injuries versus 2620 the preceding year. The report also says 77 percent of boat operators involved in accidents had received no instruction, while another 11 percent had received “informal, Internet, other” instruction.
Where the cause of death was known, 78 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned, according to the USCG’s figures; among those drowning victims with reported life jacket usage, 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket.
Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed and alcohol use ranked as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents, with alcohol use the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 21 percent of deaths.