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Accidents and deaths in U.S. recreational boating

Boating accidents happen along the ocean, river and other waterways near New Orleans’s Gulf region. While these recreational and leisure activities provide a getaway from some, they also may lead to tragedy and serious injuries for others.

A boat strikes another water vessel, a person not wearing a life jacket falls overboard and a reckless boat driver excessively speeds as the vessel strikes an obscured dock piling. These are examples of some of the types of accidents tabulated in the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2019 Recreational Boat Statistics report.

Louisiana reported 18 deaths in 2019

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, a total of 2,559 people were injured and 613 people died in boating accidents in 2019. In all, 4,168 boating accidents occurred during the year.

In Louisiana, the number of boating accidents climbed to 105, a 10.5% increase from 2018. Meanwhile, deaths in boating accidents have been relatively steady in the state in the past three years. In 2019, a total of 18 people died in boating accidents in Louisiana, compared with 17 in the previous year and 19 in 2017.

Other findings from the report include:

  • When cause of death was determined, 79% of the victims drowned. And of those drowning victims, the vast majority – 86% — did not wear life jackets.
  • The top contributing factors in boating accidents were operator inattention, improper lookout, inexperience of the operator, speeding and the use of alcohol.
  • An estimated 70% of the deaths took place on boats operated by a person who did not receive instruction on boating safety.
  • Common vessels involved in boating accidents were open motorboats (45%), personal watercraft (19%) and cabin motorboats (16%).
  • The water vessels with the highest percentage of death rates were open motorboats (48%), kayaks (14%) and personal watercraft (8%).
  • The top accident types were collisions with a recreational vehicle (26%), collisions with a fixed object (12%), grounding (10%), flooding/swamping (10%) and falls overboard (7%)

Safety is crucial when enjoying boating activities around New Orleans and the Gulf region. Enjoy the recreational activity, but also remain cautious and on the alert for careless and negligent people operating water vessels.