USCG Releases Recreational Boating Statistics 2012
Table 17 Frequency of Events in Accidents & Casualties Nationwide (see below) continues to follow the format USCG adopted in 2009 based on our and SPIN’s suggestions to reduce confusion between Event 1 and All Event data.
USCG reports accidents as a series of events, such as Event 1 = Struck Submerged Object, Event 2 = Person Overboard, Event 3 Person Struck by Propeller.
Many journalists and others mistakenly use Event 1 data to represent the total number of propeller strikes. The total (All Events) number of propeller injuries and fatalities is clearly shown in the pink squares above as 187 injuries and 19 fatalities.
The confusion comes from viewers stopping at Table 16 Accident, Vessel & Casualty Numbers by Primary Accident Type 2012 (see below) It only lists Event 1 accidents (the table refers to Event 1 accidents Primary accidents.
The number of Event 1 propeller injuries and Event 1 propeller fatalities is clearly shown in the pink squares above as 40 Event 1 propeller injuries and 1 Event 1 fatality in 2012. Far fewer than the total number of propeller accidents reported to USCG that met their criteria to be listed in BARD (187 accidents and 19 fatalities).
From time to time we encounter reporters who quote Event 1 Accident statistics because they only want to list the number of propeller accidents in which the propeller was the primary cause of the accident injuries. They fail to understand that “Primary” in this context only means it was the first event (such as a swimmer backed into by a propeller). These “Primary” events by definition do not include anybody who fell overboard and were then struck by the propeller, or those who collided with another vessel and were then struck by its propeller, or those who were first struck by a boat and then killed by its propeller.
Pages 8 and 9 discuss changes to the publication this year (specifically the continued removal of “Passenger/skier behavior” and “careless/reckless operation” as causes due to the belief boaters would not self report those causes).
We noticed there were no Event 1 propeller accidents involving a houseboat. We will followup and see if we spot any more houseboat propeller accidents in the full BARD (Boating Accident Report Database) for 2012 when we get some time. We also noticed one Event 1 propeller accident in a 40 to 65 foot vessels that might have been houseboat but not classified as such.
We would like to thank USCG for all the efforts they put into this annual statistical report of boating accidents.