Boating Safety

Boating Safety

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In 2013, 560 individuals lost their lives while boating, and 2,620 sustained non-fatal injuries. Forty-nine of those who died and 589 of those who were injured were youth between the ages of 0 and 19 years old. Since 1971, boating deaths have steadily decreased thanks to programs focusing on boater safety education, the use of personal flotation devices, and attention to risk factors like improper boating techniques and boating under the influence of alcohol. Sources and additional resources are listed at the bottom of the page.

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In 2013, 560 individuals lost their lives while boating, and 2,620 sustained non-fatal injuries. Forty-nine of those who died and 589 of those who were injured were youth between the ages of 0 and 19 years old. Since 1971, boating deaths have steadily decreased thanks to programs focusing on boater safety education, the use of personal flotation devices, and attention to risk factors like improper boating techniques and boating under the influence of alcohol.

Boating Safety

Boating Injuries by Age

In 2013, there were 2,620 boating injuries

Nearly 1 in 4 of all boating injuries occurred in people under the age of 20 (1)

Boating Injuries by Age (Where Age Is Known)

Age

Percentage of Boating Injuries

0-12

7%

13-19

17%

20+

76%

 

In 2013, there were 560 boating deaths

Nearly 1 in 10 of all boating deaths occurred in people under the age of 20 (2)

Boating Deaths by Age (Where Age Is Known)

Age

Percentage of Boating Deaths

0-12

4%

13-19

5%

20+

91%

(1) Out of the 2,486 injuries where age was known
(2) Out of the 553 deaths where age was known

Causes of Boating Deaths

Drowning was the most common cause of boating-related death (3)

Known Causes of Boating Deaths

Cause of Death

Percentage of Boating Deaths

Drowning

77%

Trauma

18%

Other

6%

 

In 82% of the drowning deaths, the victim did not wear a life jacket (4)

Known Life Jacket Use in Drowning Deaths

Life Jacket Use

Percentage of Drowning Deaths

Not Worn

84%

Worn

16%

 

(3) Out of the 515 deaths where cause of death was known
(4) Out of the 389 drowning deaths where life jacket use was known

 

Risk Factors

Alcohol use was the most common primary factor contributing to death

Top 3 Known Primary Contributing Factors in Death (Percentage of Boating Deaths Where Cause Is Known)

Primary Contributing Factor of Death

Percentage of Deaths

Alcohol Use

16%

Operator Inattention

12%

Hazardous Waters

11%

 

Safety Tips

All passengers should wear life jackets. When adults wear life jackets, their children are more likely to wear them, even into adulthood

Do not bring infants on boats until they weigh enough to wear an appropriately-sized life jacket

Children are more likely to get hypothermia, so make sure to keep them warm

Enforce safe boating rules; teach your children not to run on the boat and to keep hands and feet inside the boat

Teens should only operate boats in supervised settings and in accordance with local and state laws

Never operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and never enter a boat where the operator is intoxicated

Always be vigilant about your surroundings, especially regarding other boaters, swimmers, and weather conditions

(Safe Kids Boating Safety Tips, 2014)

Sources

For detailed sources: http://childrenssafetynetwork.org/infographics/boating-safety

United States Coast Guard, Boating Safety Resource Center. (2014). 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.uscgboating.org/assets/1/AssetManager/2013RecBoatingStats.pdf

Safe Kids Worldwide. (2014). Boating Safety Tips. Retrieved from: http://www.safekids.org/tip/boating-safety-tips

Additional Resources

Safe Kids Worldwide. (2015). Swimming and Boating Safety Fact Sheet. Retrieved from: http://www.safekids.org/sites/default/files/documents/skw_swimming_fact_sheet_feb_2015.pdf

United States Coast Guard, Boating Safety Resource Center. How to Choose the Right Life Jacket. Retrieved from: http://www.uscgboating.org/assets/1/Publications/howtochoosetherightlifejacket_brochure.pdf

BoatUS Foundation, Map of Life Jacket Loaner Programs. Retrieved from: http://www.boatus.org/life-jacket-loaner/usamap.asp.

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