Boat Accident Statistics

Written by greg on May 22, 2015

Since Southeast Texas is not only host to the Gulf of Mexico, but is also home to many other waterways, it is no surprise that boating has become a favorite past time. This outdoor activity not only allows one to enjoy the fresh air and Texas’ waterways, but it also allows one to relax. However, many times this relaxation and enjoyment of the water can lead to very serious consequences. According to the Coast Guard, in 2013 alone, there were an estimated 4,062 accidents that involved 560 deaths. Further, of this group there were approximately 2,620 injuries, which then resulted in an estimated $39 million of damages as a direct result of recreational boating accidents.

Moreover, the research also indicates that, when it came to registered recreational vessels, the fatality rate was 4.7 deaths per 100,000 individuals. That is a 13% decrease from 2012, which saw 5.4 deaths per 100,000 individuals. In comparison to 2012, the research also indicated that the number of accidents decreased by 10%, with the number of deaths decreasing by 14%, and overall injuries decreasing by 12.7%.

Despite the slight decrease of boating accident deaths, one should still keep in mind the underlining facts of the issue.

Boating Accident Facts

  • In cases where cause of death was known, 77% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of the individuals who drowned, 84% were reported to not have a life jacket on during the incident.
  • Only 20% of all deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction. Additionally, only 13% of deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had received boating safety instruction from a NASBLA-approved course provider.
  • An estimated 8 out of every 10 boaters who drowned were using vessels less than 21 feet in length.
  • Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and machinery failure rank as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents.
  • 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 16% of deaths.
  • Twenty-two children under age thirteen lost their lives while boating in 2013. Eight children or approximately 36% of the children who died in 2013 died from drowning. Two children or 25% of those who drowned were wearing a life jacket as required by state and federal law.
  • Where data was known, the most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents were open motorboats (46%), personal watercraft (18%), and cabin motor- boats (17%).

As one can glean from the above information, there are many viable ways that accidents and fatalities related to recreational boating activities can be lessened. For instance, one of the most substantial preventive techniques that can be utilized is to ensure proper training of the operator and to obey all state, federal, and local laws. It is equally essential to ensure that life jackets are a staple when boating and should always be on board to prevent accidental drowning and other incidents.

If you would like to learn about your rights and options after a boat accident call us at (281) 587-1111 or contact us via our web page:


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Baumgartner Law Firm

6711 Cypress Creek Pkwy

Phone: 2815871111

Posted Under: Boat Accidents
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