The USCG has issued their 2012 Recreational Boating Statistics, a 79 page document telling us all about deaths and accidents. The good news is there were less deaths in 2012 than in 2011 but there are a number of other items that caught my attention.
- Booze was the major contributing factor in accidents. It was a factor in 109 deaths and 227 injuries.
- In my home state of Washington, there were twice as many deaths in 2012 compared to 2011.
- Deaths offshore dropped from 7 in 2011 to 2 in 2012. I guess being offshore is a pretty safe place to be.
- Of the 459 individuals who drowned, 379 were NOT wearing life jackets.
There is a lot of information in this report but if I was to take away two things they would be:
- Pay attention to what you are doing
- Wear your life jacket
It has been shown that most accidents are the result of a number of things going wrong at the same time. When we hear of a miraculous event where a disaster has been averted many times this is due to eliminating one or two minor issues by being attentive and thinking quickly and decisively.
Let’s hope that the 2013 report shows a positive trend with less accidents and less deaths.
I was reading our local newspaper this morning and noticed an article that stated a man had drowned in Spanaway Lake (just outside of Tacoma) who was not wearing a life jacket. He was riding an inner tube being pulled by a boat when the tube flipped according to the article:
SPANAWAY LAKE Man who drowned wasn’t wearing life vest
A man presumed to have drowned Sunday in Spanaway Lake was not wearing a life vest as initially thought, Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said Wednesday.
Deputies initially said the three people riding the inner tube that flipped while being pulled by a powerboat were wearing life jackets, and that the third person, 55-yearold Salvador John Sanchez of Spanaway, slipped out of his and under the surface.
Further investigation determined life vests were thrown to the three in the water from the boat after the tube flipped but were not worn at the time of the accident, Troyer said.
The two women in the water grabbed onto the vests and were rescued, but the man slipped under the surface and has not yet been found, Troyer said.
Deputies searched for more than two days with divers, sonar and remotely operated cameras, but were not able to find the man’s body. Others involved in the accident might be cited for not wearing life vests and not having improper equipment on the boat, he said.
I don’t know how many of these articles I have read in my lifetime but what they all seem to have in common is the lack of a life jacket. There does not seem to be any argument, wearing life jackets saves lives. Please if for no other reason than to save a tree by newspapers not having to write these articles, wear your life jacket!