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Trends in boating accidents

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2022 | Boating Accidents

Since 2019, there has been an increase in boating activity. With more boating hours logged has come an increased risk of boating accidents resulting in severe injuries or death.

According to Coast Guard Maritime Commons, from 2019 to 2020, the total number of boating accidents increased 26.3%, the number of non-fatal boat accidents that caused injury increased by 24.7% and the number of fatal boat accidents increased by 25.1%. The USCG has also identified factors that may have contributed to accidents and deaths.


The Coast Guard recommends that, before getting out on the water, all boaters take a boating safety course that complies with National Boating Education Standards. According to a USCG report, 77% of deaths from boating accidents from 2019 to 2020 occurred when the operator of the vessel had not received safety instruction. This figure only includes those accidents in which there was knowledge of boating instruction.

Lack of life jackets

The most common cause of death in a boating accident, where the cause of death was identifiable, was drowning, and 86% of boaters who drowned were not wearing life jackets.


Alcohol impairs boating ability just as it does driving ability. According to the statistics, it was a contributing factor in 18% of total boating fatalities. In 2020, 100 people lost their lives in a boating accident in which an operator had consumed alcohol.

Other primary contributing factors to boat accidents, both fatal and non-fatal, include excessive speed, machinery failure and operator inattention. Open vessels are more likely to have accidents, and it is more likely that the accidents result in fatalities.