BOSTON – The 1st Coast Guard District has released its 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics, revealing that recreational boating fatalities last year totaled 39.
This is the second lowest number of boating fatalities since 1997, when the 1st Coast Guard District began tracking boating fatalities. The 1st Coast Guard District covers from the Maine and Canada border to northern New Jersey.
From 2013 to 2014, deaths in boating-related accidents did, however, increase from 33 in 2013 to 39 in 2014.
“Of the 39 recreational boating deaths in the First District last year, nearly 80 percent of the victims were not wearing life jackets – that’s 31 deaths that might have been avoided.” said Walt Taylor, the 1st Coast Guard District Recreational Boating Safety Specialist.
As arguably the most basic and important piece of boating safety equipment, Taylor compared life jackets to wearing seatbelts in a car.
“When you go out on the water, it should be habit to wear your lifejacket every time,” he said.
In addition to wearing life jackets, Taylor warns against boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He said nearly 20 percent of boating-related deaths last year involved alcohol as a contributing factor.
“The fact is alcohol, water sports, and irresponsibility is a deadly combination,” he said.
Nationally, boating-related deaths increased 8.9 percent, from 560 to 610, and injuries increased from 2,620 to 2678, a 2.2 percent increase. The total reported recreational boating accidents increased from 4,062 to 4064, a 0.05 percent increase.
The fatality rate for 2014 of 5.2 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels reflected a 10.6 percent increase from the previous year’s rate of 4.7 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. Property damage totaled approximately $39 million.
The national 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics can be viewed HERE.