Coast Guard: Boating, Paddling Fatalities On the Rise

According to the U.S. First Coast Guard District in Botson, this summer has seen an increase in recreational boating and paddling fatalities in the Northeast. So far this year 31 recreational boating- and paddling-related deaths have been recorded in the district, which stretches along the coast from Maine to northern New Jersey and eastern New York and also includes Lake Champlain, Vt.

Eight motorboats and three personal watercrafts accounted for one-third of the deaths, while the remaining two-thirds occurred on non-motorized vessels. These included 11 fatalities on canoes, three on rowboats, three on kayaks, and three on sailboats.

"The sad thing about these fatal events is that they're predictable," said Al Johnson, the First District recreational boating specialist. "What is tragic is that most were preventable. Three of the people who drowned were wearing life jackets, so a life jacket isn't guaranteed to save your life. However, it does greatly improve your chance to survive. Wearing a life jacket is the first and most important step for survival."

More than 80 percent of the fatalities in the Northeast are the result of falling overboard or capsizing, and 90 percent of people who unexpectedly find themselves in the water are not wearing a life jacket, Johnson said. He added that it is not true that the average person can put his/her life jacket on in the water or that he/she can rely on their swimming ability to save themselves in a crisis situation.

"Of course it is possible to put a life jacket on in the water if you're a regular and excellent swimmer, personally acquainted with the life jacket and have previously practiced the procedure," he said. "But as I see it from my position, if you don't have all three factors in your favor, there's a good chance surviving won't be in your favor either."

Johnson noted that many marine supply and sporting retailers are offering end-of-summer sales on boating and paddling accessories, including life jackets. "Now is a great time to try on the various life jacket styles that would work best for your on water activities and to take advantage of end-of-summer sales," he said. "Remember, the best life jacket is the one you'll wear."

He added that the district expects at least another 20 or so boating and paddling fatalities by the end of the year. "So, if we can get a few folks to take advantage of end-of-summer sales and to wear a life jacket, it just might make a difference for them," he said.

USCG recently released "Recreational Boating Statistics 2008," its annual publication on statistical information obtained from nationwide recreational boat numbering and casualty reporting systems. It is available to the public at

Download Center

  • Industrial Premium Library

    Empower your workforce with the manufacturing, industrial maintenance, operations, HSE, compliance, and professional development skills they need to complete their tasks efficiently and safely. Not only will you boost productivity, reliability, skills, and morale but you’ll also onboard faster, and retain your best employees while meeting regulatory standards. Vector Solutions offers over 1,800 award-winning eLearning courses designed to keep your employees safe, transfer knowledge of fundamentals, and develop industry and job-specific skills that reduce downtime, maintenance costs and more.

  • Safety Metrics & Insights Webinar

    EHS professionals have been tackling the subject of how to best measure performance for many years. Lagging indicators like the Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) and Days Away Restricted Transfer Rate (DART) are a good place to start, but you shouldn’t forget about the leading indicators that your workforce does every day to prevent incidents from occurring. Learn about some of the most common KPIs of safety programs and how Vector EHS Management software can be used to track these metrics in this webinar.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively. Download this guide for details on risk matrix calculations including severity, probability, and risk assessment.

  • OSHA Recordkeeping Guide

    In case you missed it, OSHA recently initiated an enforcement program to identify employers who fail to electronically submit Form 300A recordkeeping data to the agency. When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping, there are always questions regarding the requirements and ins and outs. This guide is here to help! We’ll explain reporting, recording, and online reporting requirements in detail.

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - September 2022

    September 2022


    • ESG
      EHS Will Guide Future ESG Success for Many Organizations
      Handling Material Handlers: Training Beyond PIT Requirements
      The Missing Link with EHS Software
      Noise Surveys from the Trenches
    View This Issue