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Boating Accidents Increase

Recreational Boating Accidents Up In 1993 -- Here's A Brief Overview

The number of recreational boating accidents increased in 1993 -- two hundred and eighty-seven more accidents were reported in 1993 than in 1992. There were 6,335 accidents involving 8,689 vessels in 1993. These accidents resulted in 800 fatalities, 3,559 injuries and caused $20.2 million in property damage.

While the number of accidents increased, it is important to note that fatalities declined to a record low of 800. Capsizing and/or falling overboard accounted for the majority of fatalities, and more than 80 percent of those killed were drowning vicims. An overloaded boat often contributes to this accident category. Seven out of ten fatalities occurred on boats 20 feet long or less. Boaters need to know the capacity limitations of their vessels and should wear life jackets.

Collision with another vessel was the type of accident most reported in 1993. Such accidents involved 4,727 vessels resulting in 1,290 injuries and $5.8 million in property damage. Sixty-five percent of all vessels involved in collisions were open motorboats and personal watercraft. Accidents can be avoided if boat operators pay attention, stay alert, follow the rules and are careful even when conditions are ideal. Most fatalities occur in calm waters with light winds and good visibility.

Almost half of the fatalities occurred in May, June and July. Many people enjoy boating during the summer months but foolishly consume alcohol during the outings. Alcohol affects the balance, movement and vision of boat operators and passengers. If you operate a boat while intoxicated, you are ten times more likely to be killed in an accident than you would be if sober.

More people between the ages of 20 and 29 lost their lives while boating last year than any other age group, and 43 victims were 12 or under. In accidents where the formal instruction of the operator was known, 80 percent of all fatalities occurred on vessels involving operators who had no boating instruction.

The Coast Guard encourages boaters to learn the basics of safe boat-handling by taking one of the free safety courses provided through the States, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and the U.S. Power Squadrons.

This information came from an
USCG online article.

*** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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