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Incidents and Fatalities

Recreational Boating Incident and Fatalities in Oregon

Boaters need to make sure they have the necessary skill and required equipment for the waters they enter. While accidents happen for a variety of reasons, 85-90% or more of fatalities could be prevented if the victims wore life jackets. The annual statistics illustrate this point very well.  
The Marine Board tracks all boating-related fatalities (paddle, oar, sail, and motor) which are required per the U.S. Coast Guard for nationwide statistics reporting. 
Marine Board Boating Incident Reports are, by statute, confidential and not open to public or media review. Please note: recreational boating statistics do not include those deaths which happen across state lines, are commercial in nature (charter, guide, industrial, etc.), or occur after a person has purposefully left the vessel (to swim, etc.). The Marine Board has adopted Federal law for Accident Reporting as it pertains to documenting incident and fatality statistics.
The largest percentage of incidents and fatalities occur on rivers or in the Pacific Ocean's surf zone.  

1990-2021 Incident and Fatality Chart of Statistics 
Special skill is required of boaters to safely navigate the inherent dangers in rivers and crossing coastal bars.  
Go with a registered outfitter/guide and consider joining a rafting club to gain more experience and skills to run a river. For the Pacific Ocean, go with a registered guide or charter.  

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

Plan and prepare for your trips with experienced boaters or take advantage of online or local boating clubs to learn local information. Take a boating safety course or specialized course from the ACA or other paddling associations. 
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.