Boating Deaths Hit Record Low

Photo of a father and daughter boating with life jackets on

Recreational boating fatalities in 2010 fell to the lowest number ever recorded, with 672 deaths in all types of watercraft, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s annual Boating Statistical Report, issued in June. Even as boating participation continued to increase — more than 82 million people went boating last year — fatalities in the largest category, open motorboats, have remained relatively constant over the past five years, averaging 49 percent of all deaths. By contrast, the number of canoeing and kayaking fatalities has risen steadily in that time, from 14 percent in 2005 to 21 percent last year.

The overall number of 672 deaths is a drop of nearly nine percent over 2009, and just under the last record low of 676 set in 2004. Alcohol use again ranked as the top contributing factor in boating accidents, implicated in 19 percent of the deaths. Other factors include operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, and excessive speed.  

BoatUS Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Program

Every parent wants to make sure his or her child is as safe as possible, and that goes double for parents who take their kids on the water. The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety & Clean Water makes it easier for boating families to stay safe with its national life jacket loaner program. Around the country, over 500 marinas, fuel docks, BoatUS Towing Operators, Army Corp recreation sites and other waterfront businesses lend out kids life jackets for the day or weekend to families who have a temporary need for one. Find a loaner location near you