As summer comes into full swing, families throughout Connecticut will seek waterways to create a fun-in-the-sun vacation. From lakes and ponds to rivers and the Long Island Sound, families must focus on watercraft safety to prevent collisions and other accidents that could lead to serious injuries.
The United States Coast Guard’s Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety released data focused on recreational boating accident statistics. The report focused on 2019 and highlighted numerous hazards, including the five primary accident types:
- Collision with another recreational vehicle: Vehicle collisions including boats, rafts and Jet Skis led to 1,071 accidents which resulted in 650 injuries and 47 deaths throughout the United States.
- Collision with a fixed object: If the driver of the recreational watercraft is not paying careful attention, he or she might collide with a stationary object such as a buoy, platform or channel marker. These collisions accounted for 493 wrecks leading to 326 injuries and 44 deaths in 2019.
- Grounding the watercraft: Whether hitting a beach, a sand bar or a riverbank, grounding the recreational watercraft can lead to serious injuries. In 2019, this action led to 413 accidents, 253 injuries and 16 deaths.
- Flooding or swamping the watercraft: A surge of water, overloading the vehicle or failing to recognize dangerous weather patterns can result in the vehicle being flooded. In 2019, this led to 399 accidents, 124 injuries and 45 deaths.
- Vehicle occupant falls overboard: Poor navigation, lack of safety features, alcohol or drug use, or lack of control can all lead to vehicle occupants falling overboard. In 2019, there were 299 reported incidents of individuals falling overboard with 122 injuries and 189 deaths.
Vehicle safety is a critical element of any recreational activity. From land-based motor vehicles to those on the water, vehicle occupants must remain attentive and alert at all times.