Alcohol-Related Boating Accidents

A Look at the Recreational Boating Statistics

The U.S. Coast Guard regularly releases their Recreational Boating Statistics.  This report highlights the yearly number of boating accidents causing property damage, injury and fatalities.  According to the most recent report there were 4,291 recreational boating accidents of which 658 were deadly.  The report indicates that:

Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 19% of deaths.

Heavy or even moderate drinking while participating in water activities can be dangerous to everyone.  Not only is the driver of the boat putting themselves at risk, but they are endangering the lives of their passengers and other people on the water.  Alcohol causes impaired judgement which means that the driver of a boat may be unable to make quick, life-saving decisions.

In addition to intoxicated drivers, heavy alcohol use amongst passengers has also been a factor.  Too many times, inebriated passengers fail to adhere to proper safety measures such as wearing a life vest.  

According to the U.S. Coast Guard report, 179 of the total deaths were the result of a person falling overboard. And of the 449 deaths caused by drowning, 370 of them were not wearing a life jacket.

Boating, especially during the warm summer months, can be a fun experience for everyone.  Alcohol-use, however, could turn a fun afternoon on the lake into a deadly disaster.  It is important to adhere to all safety guidelines regarding recreational boating and to remain sober. Alcohol use was a primary contributing factor in far too many boating accidents, make this summer the safest one yet by choosing not to drink and drive.