>Boating Fatalities Rise in 2008

>The Coast Guard released on Wednesday its 2008 boating safety statistics which indicated a rise in recreational boating fatalities. The fatality rate, a measure of the number of deaths against the number of registered recreational boats, increased from 5.3 in 2007 to 5.6 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational boats in 2008.

Likewise the Fifth Coast Guard District has experienced a slight upturn in boating fatalities as well. During 2008 there were 65 boating fatalities as compared to 62 for the previous year, a 4.8 percent increase. This has resulted in a fatality rate of 4.4 deaths per 100,000 registered boats in 2008. This trend is of concern particularly with the number of registered boats within the District declining by over 16,600 or about 1.2 percent, totaling just over 1.4 million registered boats.

Annual boating accident statistics from 1998 to the present are available online at the Coast Guard’s boating safety website.

It’s very apparent that our boating safety programs and related outreach initiatives are vital to reversing negative trends. Working in a collaborative manner with partner agencies and boating safety stakeholders, the message of life jacket wear, boater education, sober boating, and free vessel safety checks need to be delivered to boaters everywhere.