Maritime New Zealand issued a fatality report focusing on recreational boating accidents from 2015 to 2020.

As explained, the report is intended to give an overview of fatal recreational boating accidents between the beginning of 2015 and the end of 2020, and to provide additional insight into a number of key characteristics and identified patterns.

"Each year a number of people die while participating in recreational boating, an activity pursued for enjoyment, or for the benefit of friends or family. Each accident is tragic and has its own unique set of circumstances, but the common factors across these accidents can help highlight ways that similar incidents may be prevented in the future," Sharyn Forsyth, Maritime NZ Deputy Director and Chair of the Safer Boating Forum, says.

This six-year time period provided a total of 92 accidents resulting in 98 deaths or persons missing and presumed dead.

The report found a majority of those who died in recreational boating accidents died from drowning after they ended up in the water from either falling overboard, or the vessel capsizing or being swamped (filling with water).

The highest number of accidents occurred on small power boats, small powered and unpowered dinghies or inflatable boats.

Most recreational boating accidents happened suddenly, and people were in the water before they had time to use emergency equipment that was not already being worn.

While some clear risk groups were identified, common themes were identified across a majority of theaccidents, these were:

  • Accidents occurring suddenly and often without warning
  • Multiple people entering the water unexpectedly in challenging conditions
  • People falling overboard while alone on the vessel
  • No way to call for help
  • A lifejacket available but not worn, or a lifejacket that was improperly used
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Credit: Maritime New Zealand

According to the graph, an average of 17 deaths per year over 10 years, and 16 deaths per year over the six years was marked.

"There is no significant trend in annual deaths over this period, although a slight reduction in the number of fatalities can be noted across both the 10 years data and the six years of this report. The increasing recreational boating participation described in report section 1.3 would also indicate that the recreational boating fatality rate is decreasing", the report notes.

Source: Safety4sea

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