With summer quickly approaching, many in Washington State will head to the lakes, rivers, and beaches for water recreation and activities. However, although these days on the water can be filled with fun, they can also be dangerous if you do not obey federal and Washington State boating laws. How common are boating accidents, boating injuries, and boating fatalities?
· All in all, there were 5,191 boat accidents in 2007, resulting in over $53 million in damages.
· Drinking alcohol while boating was a factor in one out of five boat accidents.
· Seventy-five percent of boat accident drownings took place in boats that were under 21 feet long.
· Only 14 percent of boating drivers involved in boat accidents had taken a boating safety course. The other 85 percent had not taken a boat safety course.
· About 20 children each year die in boat accidents, with 16 children dying in 2007. Half of the children who die in boat accidents drown. Many of these accidents could be easily prevented with life jackets.
· In 2007, 44 percent of boat accidents involved open motorboats. Personal watercraft were involved in 24 percent of accidents, and cabin motorboats were responsible for 15 percent of accidents.
· The most common causes of boat accidents in 2007 were operator inattention, careless boat operation, reckless boat operation, passenger behavior, water skier behavior, speeding, and drinking while operating a boat.
· Nine out of ten people who drown during a boat accident were not wearing life jackets.