Recreational Boating Statistics 2022

An annual compilation of recreational boating statistics in the United States, compiled by the U.S. Coast Guard using data supplied by the U.S. states and territories. Recreational Boating Statistics 2022 was released on 25 May, 2023. New reports are published in early summer using certified data from the previous year.


Executive Summary

· In calendar year 2022, the Coast Guard counted 4,040 accidents that involved 636 deaths, 2,222 injuries and approximately $63 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.

· The fatality rate was 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. This rate represents a 1.8% decrease from the 2021 fatality rate of 5.5 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. · Compared to 2021, the number of accidents decreased 9.0%, the number of deaths decreased 3.3%, and the number of injuries decreased 15.9%.

· Where cause of death was known, 75% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims with reported life jacket usage, 85% were not wearing a life jacket.

· Where length was known, 3 of every 4 boaters who drowned were using vessels less than 21 feet in length.

· Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 16% of deaths.

· Where instruction was known, 74% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction. Only 14% percent of deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had received a nationally-approved boating safety education certificate.

· There were 173 accidents in which at least one person was struck by a propeller. Collectively, these accidents resulted in 41 deaths and 182 injuries.

· Operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, excessive speed, and machinery failure ranked as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents.

· Where data was known, navigation rules violations were a contributing factor in 50% of accidents, 35% of deaths, and almost 60% of injuries.

· Collisions (with vessels, objects, groundings) were the most frequent first event in accidents, attributing to 55% of accidents, 21% of deaths, and 53% of injuries.

· Where data was known, the most common vessel types involved in reported accidents were open motorboats (47%), personal watercraft (18%), and cabin motorboats (14%).

· Where data was known, the vessel types with the highest percentage of deaths were open motorboats (47%), kayaks (14%), personal watercraft and pontoons (both 9%).

· The 11,770,383 recreational vessels registered by the states in 2022 represent a 1.6% decrease from last year when 11,957,886 recreational vessels were registered.

From 2020 to 2021, the total number of accidents decreased 16 percent (5,265 to 4,439), and the

Related Content

Stay Safe On Your Next Paddling Adventure

Paddling is a fun and safe activity, especially if you pay attention to these common-sense rules — always wear a life jacket, don’t paddle alone, dress for water temperature and don’t mix alcohol and paddling.

Read More

Bargain Kayak (Remember a Life Jacket!)

If you go to the box store for paper towels and end up with a kayak, make sure you also pick up a life jacket. Because nobody wants to pull a Brad.

Read More

Learn to Get Back On Your Kayak BEFORE You Flip

Getting back on your sit-on-top kayak isn’t that hard – if you know how. That’s why it’s a great idea to take a paddling safety class BEFORE you flip.

Read More