Safety Reminders for Labor Day

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Many boaters will be on the water this three-day Labor Day weekend. The Safe Boating Campaign, a program of the National Safe Boating Council, reminds all boaters of key tips to prevent a boating accident – always wear a life jacket, never boat under the influence, be alert and aware on the water, and obey navigation rules.

“The statistics show that no matter where you are boating, being responsible and always wearing a life jacket can help save many lives,” said Peg Phillips, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council. “Through our Wear It Out initiative with the Safe Boating Campaign we are normalizing safe boating behaviors – real boaters boat responsibly.”

The Safe Boating Campaign has identified states with the highest number of accidents and fatalities in 2018, based on the U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics released this week. There were 633 deaths, 2,511 injuries and approximately $46 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.

The top-ranking states for boating accidents:

  1. Florida (607)
  2. California (322)
  3. Texas (204)
  4. North Carolina (182)
  5. New York (143)

The top-ranking states for boating deaths:

  1. Florida (57)
  2. Texas (38)
  3. California (34)
  4. North Carolina (30)
  5. Michigan (22)

Where cause of death was known, 84 percent of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents were not wearing life jackets. Alcohol use continues to be the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 19 percent of deaths. Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, machinery failure, and excessive speed rank as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents.

“It’s important to be an educated boater,” said Yvonne Pentz, communications director of the National Safe Boating Council. “Before you head out on the water this weekend, brush up on navigation rules and get to know the area where you’re boating.”

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 74 percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had no boating safety instruction. The Safe Boating Campaign recommends all boaters receive a nationally-approved boating education certificate, as well as periodically brush up on skills with a safe boating course.

The Safe Boating Campaign is produced under a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund and administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. All statistics are from the U.S. Coast Guard. Find more boating safety tips for Labor Weekend at