The U.S. Coast Guard released its 2018 Recreational Boating Statistics Report Tuesday, revealing that there were 633 boating fatalities nationwide in 2018, a 3.8 percent decrease from 2017.
From 2017 to 2018, overall recreational boating injuries also decreased 4.5 percent (2,629 to 2,511), and the total number of accidents decreased 3.4 percent (4,291 to 4,145).
Alcohol continued to be the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents in 2018, accounting for 100 deaths, or 19 percent of total fatalities.
"While these decreases are encouraging, there are still too many deaths and injuries that could be avoided through the use of life jackets and eliminating alcohol consumption while operating a boat," said Capt. Scott Johnson, chief of the Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety at Coast Guard Headquarters.
The report also shows that in 2018:
Where the cause of death was known, 77 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims with reported life jacket usage, 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket.
Where boating instruction was known, 74 percent of deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had not received boating safety instruction. The Coast Guard recommends that all boaters take a boating safety course that meets the National Boating Education Standards prior to getting out on the water.
The most common vessel types involved in reported accidents were open motorboats, personal watercraft, and cabin motorboats. Where vessel type was known, the vessel types with the highest percentage of deaths were open motorboats (50 percent), kayaks (13.5 percent), and canoes (7 percent).The complete statistical report can be found at this link: 2018 Boating Safety Statistics