Recreational boating is a fun and generally safe activity, but every year hundreds die in accidents and thousands more are injured. Considering that approximately 77 million Americans participate in recreational boating, these numbers are statistically low. However, these deaths and injuries are preventable.
The most frequent causes of recreational boating accidents are:
- Drowning. Causes: lack of boating safety knowledge, lack of life jackets, life jackets not worn, inability to swim, operating in heavy weather, alcohol or drug abuse.
- Falls Overboard. Causes: overloading, lack of safety knowledge, operator inattention, boat design, weather, alcohol or drug abuse.
- Collision with Vessel/Collision with Fixed Object (allision). Causes: lack of boating safety knowledge, operator inattention, no proper lookout, disregard of navigation rules.
The focus: Increasing life jacket wear rates, interventions for boating under the influence, ensuring manufacturer compliance with federal regulations, and increasing frequency and accuracy in reporting of boating accidents.
National Recreational Boating Survey
Additionally, the USCG Boating Safety Division is working with boating safety experts to develop the National Recreational Boating Survey, which will provide scientific information about boaters’ behavior to compare to fatality and injury data to identify the greatest risks. The survey will be administered every two years.
The strategic plan will be reviewed every five years to:
- Determine progress.
- Analyze measurements.
- Consider new strategies.
Full article is available at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/fall2010.
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