Coast Guard: Recreational Boaters Can Avoid Many Accidents
National Safe Boating Week Highlights Education, Life Jacket Wear
While recreational boating accidents were down overall in 2012, operator-controllable factors, including alcohol use, excessive speed, improper lookout, and failure to follow navigation rules, remain among the top causes of injuries and fatalities on the water. The U.S. Coast Guard supports National Safe Boating Week, May 18-24, as an opportunity to remind all boaters of simple things they can do to boat safely.
The Memorial Day holiday, with warmer weather and a three-day weekend, brings crowded waterways, with many new or inexperienced boaters. And, while 63.4% of boaters consider themselves "very experienced," only 42.6% have ever taken a boating safety course.*
Understanding the navigational rules of the road and boating defensively are always vital, but particularly so during peak boating periods. Wearing a life jacket, avoiding alcohol, taking a boating safety course, and getting a free vessel safety check are fundamentals that every boater should implement.
“National Safe Boating Week is the perfect time for new and experienced boaters alike to put some extra focus on safety,” noted Jeff Hoedt, Division Chief, Boating Safety Division, U.S. Coast Guard. "Every 2.5 hours someone is injured or killed in a recreational boating accident in the U.S., and all too often these accidents result from failing to take a few simple precautions."
Coast Guard statistics indicate that the chances of drowning in a recreational boating accident are 1 in 66 for a boater wearing a life jacket, but almost 1 in 11 for a boater who is not.**
"With the launch of the summer boating season in much of the country, we are joining with the National Safe Boating Council and many other valued partners to remind boaters to enjoy the water responsibly and safely," adds Hoedt.
The Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Resource Center provides recreational boaters information and resources under the “Safety” tab at http://www.uscgboating.org.
* Source: U.S. Coast Guard 2011 National Recreational Boating Survey
** Source: U.S. Coast Guard 2012 Recreational Boating Statistics