While boating accidents in Rhode Island and across the country continue to happen year after year, the main causes and circumstances can change at any time. The U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security recently released the 2016 statistics for the most dangerous situations for boaters.
According to the report, collisions were the most dangerous type of incident. The two highest numbers of accidents occurred when boat drivers collided with other recreational vessels or fixed objects. While many boaters are afraid of capsizing, this type of accident was number five on the list, resulting in only 305 episodes across the country, as compared to over 1,000 crashes that occurred between two vehicles.
While capsizing may not be as frequent, it has proven to be much more deadly to boaters. The number of people who died when a boat capsized was 175, while the next highest accident category yielded only 90 fatalities. Thus, while capsizing is not as common, it was the most deadly type of accident in 2016.
Another factor in the most dangerous boating situations is life jacket usage. While more victims died from hypothermia or trauma while wearing life jackets, hundreds more died from drowning or cardiac arrest when they did not have them on. The type of watercraft used also affected casualties, with open motorboats accounting for 1,860 deaths, while the next-highest category, personal watercrafts, had less than half of that at 721.
Boating Magazine reported that, overall, the number of accidents increased by 7.3 percent and the number of deaths also jumped up 12 percent. Alcohol was also being shown to be a major factor in fatal accidents, accounting for 15 percent of all deaths.