Learn More

What Is the Main Cause of Boating Accident Deaths?

April 12, 2022
Personal Injury

Boating Safety Statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard

Hundreds of boat accidents happen each year across the country. Florida routinely leads the nation not only in reportable boating accidents but also in fatalities. Many of the accidents resulting in serious injury or death are preventable—caused by negligence or recklessness.

At Mase Mebane Seitz, our priority is helping injured parties who have been hurt in boating accidents obtain compensation for their losses. We work tirelessly to ensure negligent operators are held accountable for their wrongdoing and that injury victims receive the financial recovery they deserve. If you have been injured in a boating accident, contact our office at (305) 487-8863 for a free consultation. 

Nationwide Boating Accident Statistics

According to the most recent data available from the United States Coast Guard, there were 767 boating fatalities nationwide. The number represents an over 25% increase from the previous year (2019). 

Five most common types of accidents according to the Coast Guard:

  • Collision with a recreational vessel
  • Flooding/swamping
  • Collision with a fixed object
  • Grounding
  • Falls overboard (resulted in the largest number of deaths)

Not only did the number of fatal boating accidents climb, but the total number of accidents and the number of injuries related to boating accidents also rose significantly. 

Common Causes of Fatal Boating Accidents

While the cause of some accidents may never be known, alcohol continued to be the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. 

Other contributing factors in boating accidents include:

  • Operator inattention
  • Operator inexperience
  • Improper lookout
  • Excessive speed
  • Machinery failure

In addition to alcohol, inexperience played a critical role in many fatal boating accidents. The Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Statistics Report noted that 77% of fatalities occurred on vessels where the operator had not received any boating safety instructions.

Accidents by Vessel 

Motorboats were the most common vessel that was involved in reportable boating accidents, followed by personal watercraft and cabin motorboats.

The highest percentage of death by vessel type:

  • Open motorboat (50%)
  • Kayak (15%) 
  • Pontoons (9%)

Depending on the operator, weather conditions, and traffic on the water, any type of vessel can be dangerous. It is essential that you understand how a boat works and consider taking a boating safety course prior to operating any vessel. 

Leading Causes of Death in Boating Accidents

Drowning was the leading cause of death where there was a known cause. Data shows that 75% of those killed in boating accidents around the country drowned. Of those that drowned, 86% were not wearing a life jacket.

According to the Coast Guard, the leading causes of death in boating accidents where there was a known cause were:

  • Drowning 
  • Trauma
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Hypothermia
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning

Being struck by a propeller is also a common cause of injury or death in boating accidents. In 2020 alone, there were 39 deaths and 241 injuries caused by a person being struck by a propeller. Individuals who have lost a loved one in a boating accident may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim. 

Get the Dedicated Legal Representation You Need

If you were recently injured in a boating accident, contact our office at (305) 487-8863 for a free, no-obligation consultation. 

At Mase Mebane Seitz, we believe you should never settle for less than your case is worth. We have tried hundreds of cases and will fight for you to receive the best possible outcome in your case. Contact our legal team today to get started.

Return to All Blogs
Share This Story
If you found the information provided by this article useful, consider sharing to your social media channels to help others in their search for reliable personal injury resources.
Get Your Case Evaluation
Contact us online now by using the form below, or call us at (305) 377-3770.

Get Your Free Consultation
(305) 377-3770
Mase Seitz Briggs
2601 South Bayshore Drive
Suite 800
Miami, FL 33133

Phone: 305-487-8863
Toll Free: 1-844-904-1749
Fax: 305-377-0080
1200 N Federal Hwy
Suite 200
Boca Raton, FL 33432

Phone: 561-210-8516
Fax: 561-210-8301
*Available by Appointment*
crosschevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram