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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.  Another consistent cause is boating under the influence of intoxicants (BUII). Nationwide, roughly 18% of recreational boating fatalities involve alcohol, drugs, inhalants, or a combination of impairing substances. 

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 that happen across state lines, are commercial (charter, outfitter guide, industrial, etc.), or occur after a person purposefully left the vessel (to swim, etc.).

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

1990-2023 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. 

Educated boaters are safer.  
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