It’s no surprise that the USCG and BoatU.S. urge boaters to equip and train for a man overboard emergency. This comes from knowledge of man overboard statistics. When least expected, it can happen …What if it happens to you? Will your shipmates be ready to mark your fall overboard? Will they be able to pull you back aboard? MOB survivors will tell you getting back onboard is not easy!
New man overboard gear and methods can greatly improve your odds of rescue. Your proactive decision can increase the likelihood of positive outcomes on your boat and make recovery as easy as possible. Read on for the surprising numbers and full story.
BoatU.S. Research on Man Overboard
The BoatUS Foundation compiled statistics on USA boating fatalities from 2003 through 2007. Chris Edmonston, President of BoatUS Foundation, reported that, of 3,133 boating fatalities in the five years, 749 were MOB deaths. Here is a synopsis of the BoatU.S. MOB findings.
Sobering MOB Facts
- 24% were characterized asfalls overboard
- 24% died at night, 76% died in daytime
- 63% did not know how to swim
- 8% of non–swimmers were wearing life jacket
- 90% occurred in calm weather with < 1′ chop
- 4% of the boats had two engines
- 85% were men
- Average age was 47
- Alcohol consumption played a part in
- 27% of daytime deaths
- 50% of nighttime deaths
This data comes from the October/November 2012 issue of BoatU.S. Magazine. It provides some good information on man overboard. The products we represent came to market about the time this was written so are not reviewed in it. With the unfortunate 90% rate of MOB deaths in calm seas and wind, it cannot hurt to be prepared with the best man overboard equipment and training, even if you don’t think you need it.
USCG MOB ResearchMichael J. (
Mike) Baron, USCG Boating Safety Division, wrote about 2011 MOB statistics on the Boating World site. He cites 205 deaths from 359
falls overboardin 2011.
Recreational Boating Safety Statistics Updates
Below this table is a graph of these figures. Updates: The USCG reports these updates:
|Year||MOB Fatalities||Falls Overboard||Source|
|2011||205||359||Recreational Boating Statistics 2011, USCG, page 7|
|2012||197||331||Recreational Boating Statistics 2012, USCG, page 35|
|2013||149||281||Recreational Boating Statistics 2013, USCG, page 36|
|2014||168||311||Recreational Boating Statistics 2014, USCG, page 36|
|2015||155||259||Recreational Boating Statistics 2015, USCG, pp 35, 63|
|From Boating accident statistics compiled by USCG, from 2004 to most recent year|
Graph of MOB Fatalities and Falls Overboard
This image shows falls overboard and MOB fatalities for each year from 2011 through 2015.
Sailing More Deadly than Football
A study recently published in Wilderness & Environmental Medicine has found more fatalities from boating than from snow skiing or football.3 They analyzed injuries and fatalities on sailboats from 2000–2011 using USCG data. Andrew T. Nathanson, M.D, one of the Rhode Island Hospital researchers, commented that,
Neither experienced nor novice boaters were spared from injuries and death. They found higher fatality rates in boating than in alpine skiing and snowboarding, or American football.
You Be the Judge
When you evaluate a new man overboard pole, we think you will come back to buy one of our dan buoys. Take a look at our entire line of man overboard gear. Taking the time to train for man overboard, and investing in the best man overboard gear, will increase the likelihood of a positive outcome on your boat. What steps do you take on your boat about dealing with a man overboard?
3 Injuries and Fatalities on Sailboats in the United States 2000–2011: An Analysis of US Coast Guard Data. Ryan, Kevin M, et al, Wilderness & Environmental Medicine (Dec 7, 2015), doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2015.09.022, Volume 27, Issue 1, p. 10–18