Recreational Boating Safety – The 2126 Club

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
You may be reading this if you are a member of the 2126 Club, whose members were seriously injured in a recreational boating accident in 2023. If you are a member of the 564 Club, then you are not reading this because you are dead. To be a member of the 564 Club one must have died as the result of a recreational boating accident in 2023. The sad thing about both clubs is, for many members, they didn’t do anything to become members of their respective club. They were passengers; simply innocent riders on the storm, so to speak. So yes, we should mourn the members of both clubs, knowing that not all members were inducted into the club on their own accord.

This article will examine the characteristics of the members of the 2126 Club to see if we can pick out commonalities that we can identify and use to help keep us from becoming members of next year’s Boating Accident Deaths and Boating Accident Injuries clubs. The names of these clubs change every year and represent the number of new members. The goal in presenting these statistics is to try and reduce the numbers of new recruits through boater safety education. Keep in mind that these statistics represent both boat operators and their innocent passengers.

What Kinda Boat You Got?

We looked at Boating Accident Deaths last week and made some observations that lead to conclusions based on the types of boats involved. Just as with the boating deaths, the Open Motorboat class is at the top of the vessel types with reported serious injuries as well as deaths. When we look at Vessel Types in relationship to casualties, what we don’t know is how many trips on the water were made without any deaths or injuries. The table above may just represent the order in which the vessels were used; for instance, more people own open motorboats, so naturally those types of vessels are at the top of the casualty list.

So, how can we use this table? By categorizing casualties by vessel type we can then look at the root causes of casualties by vessel type and make recommendations for the owners of the particular type of vessel that is germane to that particular vessel. We can make the recommendations specifically rather than generally.

Death vs. Injury

Although we know that the Open Motorboat class is at the top of the Casualty Rank, only 18% of the casualties for this class resulted in death with 72% resulting in serious injury. This table gives us an idea of the death vs. injury likelihood for each rank. The Canoe/Kayak vessel type really stands out with this type of comparison. It is the only category where the death rate is higher than the injury rate, and it’s not just by a little bit. You are twice as likely to die in a canoe/kayaking accident than just be injured. Although we have made significant reductions in casualties for the other types of boats, Canoe/kayak casualties have increased over the year before. The best way to stay out of the Canoe/Kayak casualty clubs is to get specific canoe or kayak training and to always wear your life jacket on your person rather than attaching it to the back of your seat.

So Where Are Ya Hurt?

If you think by “injury” we are just talking about cuts and bruises, just have a look at the “Amputation” and “Spinal Cord Injury” categories. These are all permanent injuries that are life-altering. You will never ever recover from these injuries. Who would have thought that a little fun in the sun on the water could result in the loss of an arm or leg or being paralyzed from the neck down? We aren’t even mentioning the deaths. Just the serious injuries.

In the last two articles we have looked at the number of deaths (564 Club) and serious injuries (2126 Club) that occurred due to Recreational Boating Accidents. We have classified the deaths and injuries by vessel type, and we have classified the types of injuries. Next week we will look at the root causes of these accidents (do you think alcohol and speeding might be involved?). Here are some things you can do to help stay out of the death and injury clubs:

  1. Take a Boater Safety Course
  2. Get a Vessel Safety Check for your boat
  3. Always wear a properly fitting life jacket
  4. No alcohol or drugs on board
  5. Follow the Rules of the Road

[BC: Jun-18-2024]

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