Recreational boating activity soars during warm weather months, and so do boating accidents and injuries. According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s “Boating Statistics 2012,” 1 the most recent year available, there are more than 12 million registered recreational boats in the United States. With so many boaters enjoying the waterways, it is no surprise that more than 4,500 boating accidents, involving nearly 6,000 vessels, were reported in 2012, with far more that go unreported each year. The number of actual boating accidents decreased by 73 from 2011, and overall fatalities decreased significantly, by 14.1 percent to 651 in 2012. While certainly a favorable trend, approximately 3,000 people still required medical treatment beyond first aid as a result of boating accidents. In addition, the total property damage in 2012 from reported accidents was approximately $38 million.
Though the statistics are concerning, the risk of boating injuries and accidents can be minimized. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the vast majority of reported incidents involved factors that were within the control of boat operators. ACE Recreational Marine Insurance, one of the nation’s largest recreational marine insurance providers, and part of the ACE Group, has again released its top ten list detailing tips to help recreational boaters stay safe, thus potentially reducing the number of preventable accidents that may occur each year.
“Since nearly half of all fatal accidents occur over the summer months, there’s no question that taking steps to promote boating safety, especially when waterways are most crowded, can potentially have a significant impact on saving lives. Safe boating should be the aim of all boaters and comes from active participation in ongoing education and training, as well as hands-on boating experience. Understanding and obeying navigational rules and safety procedures has proven to help reduce injuries and property damage,” said Damon R. Hostetter, Senior Vice President, ACE Recreational Marine Insurance.