What Type of Boating Emergencies That Causes The Most Fatalities?

The US Coast Guard and American Boating Associations recorded thousands of boating accidents that were the cause of most of the fatalities. The latest documented cases were in 2019, wherein 4,168 instances of accidents, 613 were recorded as dead. To help us understand these cases, we have to know under which conditions most boating emergencies occur.




Cloudless sky doesn’t mean it won’t rain anytime. Ensure to check on the weather report or forecast if you plan to sail on a specific date. boating in the storm is one of the causes of accidents in the sea. Likewise, unstable weather conditions are the reason why boats and ships encounter accidents. 

Lack of Experience

Driving into the waters seems pretty easy as there are no lanes, stop lights, and little traffic. The tendency is to speed up. But piloting a boat is entirely different from a car, and it requires experience and knowledge in navigation systems. Inexperience in steering a boat may end you up colliding with another.


Driving under the influence of alcohol could cause boating accidents in the water. When you are intoxicated, chances are you may not be able to focus. And may thus lead to accidents. 

To avoid this, let anyone skilled and is not drunk handle the wheel. Or, if there is no one else, make sure you’re fit or sober before you start the engine.

Insufficient Lookout 

When you are on the wheels, you may not see everything. So, it would be best if you had someone as a lookout. To make sure nothing is blocking your way to help avoid accidents.

Collision with Another Vessel

Collisions happen for many reasons. It can be because of incompetent boating experience, slower reaction to dangers, driver exhaustion, poor comprehension of navigation and warning signals, lack of decision making, or being distracted by something else. And these are a common type of boating emergency causes the most fatalities. Also, managing your speed and focus are crucial to cruising safely.

Boat’s Mechanical Failure

Engine maintenance is essential when you have a vessel sailing all the time. As a boat owner, you need to have your boat checked regularly. Mechanical failure is the top reason for most accidents in the sea that results in the loss of life.

To prevent incidents like this, you have to make sure to:

1. Check the vessel first before departure.

It should be a rule of thumb always to check the boat before sailing. While you can do a regular check-up, it is still safe for you to do a quick look at the vessel’s body, its engine, and the emergency kit. This is especially necessary when you will be out to the open sea for a few days.

2. Carry spare parts.

When you go sailing, carry spare parts and the tools for repair. Having enough knowledge about the boat’s features and repair is essential to your trip.

3. Check the tank.

Miscalculation happens, especially with how much fuel you need to fill into the tank. So carry extra petrol with you and don’t forget to always check the fuel level before leaving the port. 

What to Do to Prevent Boating Accidents?

Boating accidents happen when you least expect them. But, unfortunately, no matter how prepared you are, untoward incidents seem inevitable, like sudden engine breakdown and similar system failures caused by natural phenomena.

Always be prepared, so when that time comes, you know what to do. An emergency kit, for this reason, is crucial to have.

What you should include in your boat emergency kit:

1.  Life jackets and other personal flotation devices.

Life jackets are a lifesaver. Even if you know how to swim, you need something to keep you afloat. 

2. Fire extinguisher.

You have to be ready in case there is a fire.

3. Sound-producing devices.

Sound-producing devices will be your buddy to communicate with people nearby. You may want to have a device with a sound of at least 200 decibels. A megaphone is also recommended. 

4. Reflective tapes.

Reflective tapes served as a guide when docking, especially during dark hours in the waters. They also help highlight objects and other marine vessels to avoid collisions. 

5. Other items:

    • Bottled water
    • Distress flag
    • Flashlights

Emergency Preparedness Tips

  • Make a checklist of items in your emergency kit and ensure that you have everything you need. 
  • Install a carbon dioxide detector to detect smoke for possible fire and leaking of gas from the engine.
  • Have your communication devices fully charged all the time. While mobile phones are beneficial, you also need to have radios. You can use them to get the coastguard’s attention whenever you need to be rescued.
  • Check the body of your vessel or the windows. This tip is a basic step but can be disregarded. Checking may not only require you to make sure the surface and materials of the boat are intact. You also need to ensure that they are high quality so they won’t break easily in case of pressure from water or air while you sail.


Related: Do’s And Don’ts: A Quick Guide To Boat SafetyWhat Type of Boating Emergency Causes the Most Fatalities?


When it comes to sailing precautions and safety, you have to be very precise on the quality of materials you install in your boat. It may not be as evident as the emergency kit, but you must consider having quality marine glass windows. 

What type of boating emergency causes the most fatalities? There are many types, and one of them is boat failure, and this would include having low-quality materials for your boat. Peninsula Glass recognizes this need and produces high-quality marine glass that would complete the safety measures for your boat.