The U.S. Coast Guard just released their boating accident statistics report for 2008. The bad news is that boating accident fatalities increased in 2008. During 2008, the Coast Guard registered 709 boating accident deaths and 3,331 injuries. The boating accident fatality rate increased from 5.3 to 5.6 deaths per every 100,000 registered recreational boat. Boating under the influence contributed to 17% of the fatalities.
The leading causes of boating accidents are:
- operator inattention
- careless or reckless operation
- no proper lookout
- operator inexperience
- passenger or skier behavior.
The Coast Guard says that boating education programs are shown to lower accident deaths. In 90% of boating accident deaths, the boat operator had not received boating education. In 2005, In 2005, Washington State passedRCW 79A.60.640 to require boat operators of motorboats of 15 horsepower or greater to take a boater education course. The course can be taken in a classroom or online. See our Boating Resources.
Washington state has a higher boating accident fatalities then many states, in part because of our cooler water temperatures. In two thirds of all boating accident deaths, the victim drowned and 90% of those were not wearing a life jacket. The Coast Guard recommends that all boaters to wear a personal flotation device. See our Boating Safety Tips.
This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent boating accident victims and their families.