U.S. Coast Guard report reveals increases in boating fatalities

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 4:29 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2021 at 5:07 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The U.S. Coast Guard has released its 2020 Recreational Boating Statistics Report Wednesday, revealing a 25% increase nationwide in boating fatalities from 2019, bringing the total to 767 deaths.

The types of vessels involved in the most fatalities were open motorboats, kayaks, and pontoons.

Alcohol was revealed to have been the leading known contributing factor of fatal accidents in 2020, resulting in over 100 deaths, or 18 percent of total fatalities. Other factors included operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, excessive speed, and machinery failure.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in 75% of fatal boating accidents, the victims had drowned, with 86% of those victims not having been wearing a lifejacket.

“It’s crucial for boaters to wear a life jacket at all times because it very likely will save your life if you enter the water unexpectedly,” says Capt. Scott Johnson, chief Boating Safety at Coast Guard Headquarters.

The Coast Guard reminded all boaters to boat responsibly on the water: wear a life jacket, take a boating safety course, attach the engine cut-off switch, get a free vessel safety check, and boat sober.

The report is based off on incidents that resulted in at least one of the following criteria: death, disappearance, injury that required medical treatment beyond first aid, damages to the vessel(s) or other property that equaled or exceeded $2,000, or a loss of vessel.

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