WON Landing Page March 2022

Boating Accidents Down, but Safety Education Remains Critical

ANNAPOLIS, Md., July 11, 2022 – With the pandemic putting more people than ever on the water and consequent rise in boating accidents and fatalities, there’s some better news in the newly released 2021 U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics.

The latest Coast Guard report shows double-digit declines year-over-year across the board in the main boating safety indicators: Boating accidents dropped 15.7%, injuries decreased 17.2%, and fatalities dropped 14.2%. The 2021 fatality rate decreased to 5.5 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels, a 15.4% reduction from 6.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2020.

Found USCG 2021 Recreational Boating Statistics photo 7_11_22
The U.S. Coast Guard just released its 2021 Recreational Boating Statistics.

“The new report shows a dramatic decrease in injuries and fatalities, more than I can recall in recent memory,” said BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water president Chris Edmonston. “However, even with Covid restrictions lifted and boating no longer one of the few ways to recreate with the family, operator inexperience remains one of the top risk factors contributing to accidents.” Operator inattention, improper lookout, machinery failure and excessive speed round out the list.

“The need to focus on these five boating safety basics and the continued need for boating safety education has not changed,” added Edmonston.

The BoatUS Foundation offers the only free online boating safety course accepted by boating license agencies in 36 states. Courses are also NASBLA-approved and recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Foundation also offers On-Water Powerboat Training at 15 locations from Maine to Florida and Southern California.

What’s influencing these latest boating safety numbers? “We’re unsure if this latest data is an anomaly or a trend, but we believe the increasing number of states requiring mandatory boating safety education, as well as states requiring education for a greater portion of their boating citizens, is having a positive effect,” said Edmonston. He also notes, however, that paddlecraft operators remain a concern, as they typically don’t have any requirements for education before hitting the water. Where the data was known, 2021 statistics show that 15% of deaths were attributed to kayaks — unchanged from the year prior.

For more go to BoatUS.org.

About the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water:

The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by donations from the more than 800,000 members of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the nonprofit provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America’s waterways and keeping boating safe for all. A range of safe and clean boating courses – including the nation’s largest free online boating safety course – can be found at BoatUS.org/Courses.

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