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Too often these outings turn tragic

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Too often these outings turn tragic

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boat wreck

There have been awesome memories made out on the water with friends and family. Boating can be a great time whether you are spending a sunny day fishing, skiing or tubing.  While these events help us bond with each other, boating accidents from reckless or ignorant behavior can rip friends and family apart.

Here are some interesting statistics from the US Coast Guard:

In 2017, the Coast Guard counted 4,291 accidents that involved 658 deaths, 2,629 injuries and approximately $46 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.

81% of deaths occurred on boats where the driver had not received boating safety instruction. In contrast, only 14% percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator received a boating safety education from nationally approved institutions.

The top five contributing factors in accidents are:
Operator inexperience
Alcohol Use
Improper Lookout
Operator inattention
Machinery Failure

There were 172 accidents in which at least one person was struck by a propeller. Collectively, these accidents resulted in 31 deaths and 162 injuries.

So what can responsible boat owners do to insure safety out on the water?

Federal Safety Requirements for recreational boats are written and enforced by the US Coast Guard.  These regulations are detailed in a 82 page document called A Boaters Guide to Federal Requirements for Recreational Boats.  Page 42 of the document lists the requirements based on the size of your boat.  For our purposes, we are discussing boats up to 26 feet in length. Their list starts with reminding boaters that they need the required state numbering and licensing then the remaining 8 items are about safety.  Those items are included in our boat items checklist below but please review their site for complete details.

We recommend all boaters review this document in its entirety as it address safety in operating your boat as well.  The US Coast Guard offers several courses in boating safety. More information can be found at

In summary, take a few extra minutes this year before you get out with your boat to be sure you have the proper safety equipment.  Do it now and at the beginning of each season.  A few safety precautions can mean the difference between fun and disaster. Look to our boating safety equipment checklist for ideas.

Boat Safety Items:

boat on fire

Fire Extinguisher
First Aid Kit
Life Jackets
Whistle or Air Horn
Flash Light
Electric distress signals
backfire flame arrestor for non-outboard motors
Gas Tank Ventilation
Navigation Lights
Screw Driver
Spare Prop
Prop Nut Wrench
Duct Tape