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Incidents and Fatalities

Recreational Boating Incidents and Fatalities in Oregon

Boaters need to make sure they have the skills and required equipment for the waters they enter. Accidents happen for all kinds of reasons. But 85-90% of drowning victims were not wearing life jackets. The annual statistics illustrate this point very well.  

The Marine Board tracks all recreational boating-related fatalities (paddle, oar, sail, and motor). This is a federal requirement in each state by the U.S. Coast Guard for nationwide statistics. 

Incident reports are, by statute, confidential and not open to the public or media review. Please note: recreational boating statistics do not include those deaths which happen across state lines, are commercial in nature (charter, outfitter guide, industrial, etc.), or occur after a person purposefully left the vessel (to swim, etc.).

The largest percentage of incidents and fatalities occur on rivers or in the Pacific Ocean's surf zone. Boat operators need to develop special skills to safely navigate any change in conditions.   

1990-2021 Incident and Fatality Chart of Statistics 

If you've never boated a particular waterway or are new to boating, go with a registered outfitter/guide. It's also worth considering joining a boating club to gain more experience and skills to run a river. For the Pacific Ocean, go with a registered guide or charter.  

Want to see if a charter or outfitter guide is registered with the Marine Board? Visit our Boat Oregon Store. Click on "Online Services" in the upper right-hand corner of the page. Then click on "Guides and Charters Lists" to search.  

Plan and prepare for your trips. Take a boating safety course or specialized course from the ACA, other paddling associations, US Power Squadrons, or Coast Guard Auxiliary. 

Download free publications available through the Marine Board's library. 


Educated boaters are safer.  
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Additional information metrics are available from the National Association of State Boating Law Administrator's Boating Safety Dashboard for the incident and fatality data, PFD wear rate information, and other visual metrics.