Boat Safety

Summer heat brings several fun water activities.  Safety should be on the minds of everyone, as the water can be a dangerous place.


Did you Know...


According to the U.S. Cost Guard, in 2008

  • 2/3 of all boating related deaths were caused by drowning
  • 90% of boating accident victims that drown were not wearing a life jacket
  • In 70% of the accidents that caused a death, the driver had no boater safety training
  • Alcohol is contributing factor in 20% of all boating related deaths

The top causes of boating accidents include:

  • Driver Inexperience
  • Driver Inattention
  • Reckless Use
  • Excessive Speed

Tips for Preventing Boat Injuries and Deaths (from CDC)


Wear Your Life Jacket While Boating


 Life jacket use by all in a boat can reduce drownings. Coast Guard-approved life jackets are now better looking in appearance and comfortable to wear. With correct fit, a life jacket or PFD (Personal Flotation Device) can help to prevent an injury or tragedy.


Avoid Alcoholic Beverages While Boating


Alcohol use affects judgment, vision, balance, and coordination. Reports suggest that alcohol played a role in about 1 in 5 boating deaths.


Complete a Boating Education Course.


Boating education courses teach the regulatory and statutory rules (“Rules of the Road”) for the safe operation and navigation of recreational boats. In 2006, 70% of all boating fatalities occurred on boats where the boat operator had not attended a boating safety education course.


Participate in the Vessel Safety Check (VSC) Program



The Vessel Safety Check (VSC) is a free public service provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron volunteer organizations promoting boating safety. These volunteer personnel check safety equipment and provide information about equipment purpose, safety procedures and applicable regulations. For more information on the VSC Program, visit their web site: *


Source: U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security (US). Boating Statistics – 2006 [online]. 2008. [cited 2008 March 26]. Available from URL:

U.S. Coast Guard 

For more information on boat safety check out the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources at

Download a Personal Flotation Device Guide

Switch Site