LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 14, 2011) – The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) applauded Tuesday’s release of the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2010 Recreational Boating Statistics, which illustrate record achievements by the states and federal government in educating boaters and preventing tragic loss of life in recreational boating.

According to the report, total fatalities in 2010 dropped to 672, the lowest number on record. The study also found that almost three-fourths of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those, 88 percent were not wearing a life jacket. Alcohol remained the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; it was listed as the leading factor in 19 percent of the deaths. Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and alcohol use rank as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents.

In addition, the statistics show that there were 3,153 injuries and approximately $35.5 million dollars in property damage as a result of recreational boating accidents in 2010. Compared to 2009, the number of accidents decreased by 2.66 percent, the number of deaths decreased 8.7 percent and the number of injuries decreased 6.1 percent.

NASBLA believes that while these statistics show an improvement from 2009, they also further confirm the importance state-level education and public awareness campaigns.

In 2010, for recreational boating fatalities where the operator’s instruction was known and reported, only nine percent occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction, and only six percent occurred on vessels where the operator had received boating safety instruction from a NASBLA‐approved course provider.

“These statistics indicate that boaters who have taken a boating safety course are less likely to be involved in an accident. The states and territories play an important role in recreational boating safety. It is their combined efforts that are saving lives,” said NASBLA Executive Director John Johnson.

“It’s extremely rewarding to see the record low number of boating deaths in 2010, but the numbers are also clear about how to prevent those families from having to experience any loss.

Education and life jackets are the most important life-saving tools boaters can have at their disposal,” said NASBLA President James Graybeal.

President Graybeal went on to say that, “I am also more confident than ever that the NASBLA-initiated campaign to reduce incidents of boating under the influence – Operation Dry Water – is a key program to make boaters aware of this grave danger.”

Operation Dry Water is a national weekend of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) detection and enforcement aimed at reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities and fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water. Held during the summer boating season and coordinated by NASBLA – with the states, the U.S. Coast Guard and other partner agencies – Operation Dry Water directly addresses the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. This year’s Operation Dry Water takes place June 24-26.

For more information on NASBLA-approved boating safety courses, Operation Dry Water and the U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics, please visit www.nasbla.org.

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. The association offers a variety of resources, including training, model acts, education standards and publications. Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers, NASBLA affects the lives of over 83 million American boaters.

Media Contact

Kristy Moore (859) 225-9487

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