Table 5-2
Boating Accident Causes, 2006

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Primary cause of accident Accidents Fatalities
Loading of passengers or gear 514 91
Hull failure 77 10
Machinery / machinery system failure 272 18
Equipment / equipment system failure 141 9
Operation of vessel 2,867 336
Environment 621 108
Ignition of spilled fuel or vapor 36 0
Other 166 42
Unknown 273 96
Total 4,967 710

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, Boating Statistics, 2006; available at: as of Mar. 24, 2008.

  • Overall, carelessness/reckless operation, operator inattention, excessive speed, and operator inexperience are the leading contributing factors of all reported accidents. The contributing factors of accidents are subcategories that fall under the "Loading of passengers or gear" category in the above chart.
  • Approximately 70% of all reported fatalities occurred on boats where the operator had not received boating safety instruction.

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