2021 Recreational Boating Statistics Available

The U.S. Coast Guard has released its 2021 Recreational Boating Statistics Report, revealing that there were 658 boating fatalities nationwide in 2021, a 14.2 percent decrease from 2020.

From 2020 to 2021, the total number of accidents decreased 15.7% percent (5,265 to 4,439), and the number of non-fatal injured victims decreased 17.2 percent (3,191 to 2,641). 

Alcohol continued to be the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents in 2021, accounting for over 100 deaths, or 16 percent of total fatalities.

The report also shows that in 2021:

  • The fatality rate was 5.5 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. This rate represents a 15.4% decrease from the 2020 fatality rate of 6.5 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.
  • Property damage totaled about $67.5 million.
  • Operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure, and excessive speed ranked as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents.
  • Where cause of death was known, 81% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims with reported life jacket usage, 83% were not wearing a life jacket.

“The National Safe Boating Council is dedicated to helping create a safe recreational boating experience for all boaters,” said Peg Phillips, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council. “We will continue to work alongside the U.S. Coast Guard, our members, and our partners to influence safe, secure, and responsible boating through education, outreach, and training.”

The National Safe Boating Council partners with the marine industry and the boating community to influence a safe boating culture. Here’s how:

Network: Connect communities, organizations, and people to support a safe boating culture.

Media best practices: Encourage members to walk the talk and depict boating safety in marketing efforts.

Educational resources: Develop an extensive library of integrated marketing and educational materials.

Outreach programs: Influence safe boating behaviors through national outreach programs.

Training: Grow a generation of responsible boaters through nationally recognized on-water and online instruction.

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