The United States Coast Guard has just released its 2019 Recreational Boating Statistics report revealing a decline in American boating deaths for the third straight year. Total boating deaths reflect a 3.2% decrease, from 633 in 2018 to 613 in 2019.
The 61st annual report, “2019 Recreational Boating Statistics,” contains statistics on recreational boating accidents and state vessel registration. The publication shares coordinated efforts of the Coast Guard and all states, five territories and the District of Columbia that have Federally-approved boat numbering and casualty reporting systems.
Since 2011, the Water Sports Foundation (WSF) has been a U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety partner through its non-profit recreational boating safety grant program. WSF is currently managing six boating safety outreach grant projects that cover a wide variety of safety subjects such as increasing life jacket wear rates; reducing the rate of impaired boating; specific projects for Spanish-speaking Americans; and targeted paddlesports safety projects. One project is designed to encourage boat dealers and industry officials to remind boating consumers – during the retail-to-consumer interface – to practice safer boating habits. Since 2011, the WSF has been responsible for the production of nearly 200 safety video PSA’s and hundreds of safety articles, generating more than one billion impressions.
“Our follow-up Attitude and Behavior Studies conducted and presented in late 2018 and early 2019 show that our outreach campaigns are changing the public’s attitudes and behaviors about safety,” said Jim Emmons, non-profit outreach grants director for the Water Sports Foundation. “The Coast Guard’s new statistics report, including the reduction in boating casualties for the third consecutive year, further validates our own research and what we have been tracking and reporting for several years now.”
Most notably is the public’s attitude about life jacket wear which has improved over the past eight years, along with increased measures to minimize the use of alcohol while boating, both of which are major tenants of WSF’s boating safety outreach campaigns.