Figure 4-3 Causes of Recreational Boating Accidents-1999

Figure 4-3
Causes of Recreational Boating Accidents-1999

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Causes Accidents
Number Percent
Human factors 5,276 67%
Environment 1,025 13%
Machinery 484 6%
Unknown 460 6%
Other 413 5%
Equipment 194 2%
Hull failure 79 1%
Total 7,931  

NOTES: Most boating accidents involved human factors. Human factors include accidents during loading of passengers or gear and operation of the vessel. Operator inattention and operator inexperience were the top 2 causes of accidents due to the operation of the vessel. Alcohol is a major factor in boating accidents.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Coast Guard, Office of Boating Safety, Boating Statistics – 2000, available at

  • Nearly 70 percent of all reported accidents involve factors that are under the control of the boat operator.
  • Primary causes of accidents are operator inattention, careless or reckless operation, operator inexperience, operating at an unsafe speed, and no proper lookout.
  • Eighty-four percent of all boating fatalities occurred on boats where the operator had not completed a boating safety education course.