Michigan safe and clean boating: boating accidents down in Michigan and across the U.S.

Boating accident statistics show reduced numbers of boating-related accidents and deaths in Michigan and the US over the past three years.

While boating accidents and boating fatalities have both steadily declined nationwide over the past five years, accidents and fatalities have also significantly decreased in Michigan. The U.S. Coast Guard’s 2012 Accident Statistics Report, which was released this past May, show that for the past three years, boating accidents in Michigan have decreased from 132 in 2010, 129 in 2011, and 103 in 2012. Additionally, boating fatalities in Michigan have decreased from 27 in 2010, 26 in 2011, and 16 in 2012. For the entire U.S., boating-related fatalities decreased 14.1 percent.

The report was released the week prior to National Safe Boating Week, which occurred from May 18th through the 24th. In Michigan, National Safe Boating Week was represented by efforts from the National Safe Boating Council, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadrons, Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and local law enforcement agencies across the state. While these organizations provide education on safe boating throughout the year, the focus of National Safe Boating Week this year was the “Wear it Michigan” campaign. This campaign focused efforts on getting people to wear life jackets while boating. Information on the legal requirements of who must wear life jackets and what must be carried onboard vessels can be found on Michigan DNR’s website, which also states that 90 percent of the people who drown could have been saved by a life jacket.

Michigan Safe and Clean Boating efforts are conducted through Michigan State University Extension and Michigan Sea Grant College Program. Joint efforts are coordinated with the Michigan Clean Marina Program, a cooperative effort of the Michigan Boating Industries Association, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Michigan Sea Grant College Program (Michigan State University Extension and the University of Michigan). Boaters who want to know more about Michigan Safe and Clean Boating can contact Josh Gunn, Michigan Clean Marina Program Educator at gunnjosh@msu.edu.

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