BOATING FATALITIES DECLINE 50 PERCENT ON OHIO WATERWAYS DURING LAST SIX YEARS|
COLUMBUS, Oh - Calling it a milestone in recreational boating safety, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced that boating-related fatalities on state waterways declined 50 percent in the three-year period from 2004 through 2006, compared to fatalities over the previous three years. Boater deaths in Ohio have declined approximately 85 percent since record keeping began in 1965.
The ODNR Division of Watercraft reported 30 persons died in boating-related incidents from 2004 through 2006, while 60 died between 2001 and 2003.
“It is very gratifying to see such a significant decline in lives lost,” said Michael E. Quinn, acting chief of the ODNR Division of Watercraft. “Innovative programs and the efforts of hundreds of ODNR employees, volunteers and boating partners over the years have contributed to improved recreational boating safety.”
When record keeping of Ohio boating accidents began in 1965, more than 20 fatalities per 100,000 registered boats occurred. The current trend shows fewer than three fatalities per 100,000 registered boats now occur on Ohio waterways.
As recreational boating activity has steadily increased since the 1960s, boating-related deaths have declined. About 412,000 watercraft were registered in Ohio in 2006. An estimated 3 million Ohioans enjoy boating annually and help generate an economic impact for the state’s economy estimated at $2.3 billion.
“Advancements in law enforcement, education programs, boating equipment and increased public awareness over the past half century are critical components of Ohio’s and the nation’s improved boating safety record,” said Quinn.
The majority of deaths on the nation’s waterways result from drownings when boats capsize and persons fall overboard or voluntarily jump into the water. As many as 85 percent of these drownings involve victims who fail to properly wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket.
In 2005, a total of 697 people died on the nation’s waterways in boating-related incidents, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. By comparison, the National Transportation Safety Board reports that in 2005, 616 people died in aviation accidents, 789 died in railroad accidents and 43,443 died in motor vehicle accidents.