Wednesday, October 10

88% of US Maritime Deaths Involve Recreational Boating

Merchant Mariners are highly-trained professionals. This is to be expected due to the complexity of the work they do, the remoteness of their work location which limits their access to others who might be called in to assist them, and the huge potential for damage and death if something does go wrong.

The same can't be said for weekend-warrior boaters:

NTSB – marine deaths rose slightly in 2006 - The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a news release discussing transportation deaths in the United States during 2006. Marine deaths rose slightly over the figures for 2005 (from 789 to 805). Of these, 710 involved recreational boating. Marine deaths in the commercial sector were virtually unchanged. (10/4/07). - Dennis Bryant Holland & Knight homepage

That comes out to 88 percent of US maritime deaths the result of recreational boaters. There is no explanation to the reasons behind the pleasure boater deaths.

Here is how air and rail fared:

Aviation deaths rose from 617 to 779. Nearly 90% of aviation fatalities occur in general aviation accidents (698) and they account for a significant majority of the increase in aviation-related deaths from 2005 to 2006


Rail fatalities decreased slightly from 803 to 781, with declines in all categories except for pedestrian fatalities associated with intercity rail operations (559 to 585). - NTSB

Now compare that to this:

“Despite the slight decline in overall transportation fatalities this past year,” said NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker, “the annual loss of more than 40,000 people on our roads, rails, waterways and in our skies is a national tragedy. We must all work together to promote safety across all transportation modes, with the Board leading the way by continuing its emphasis on our Most Wanted list of safety improvements.”

Highway fatalities, which account for nearly 95% of all transportation deaths, decreased from 43,510 in 2005 to 42,642 in 2006. However, motorcycle fatalities not only increased five percent from 4,576 in 2005 to 4,810 in 2006, but the 234 additional deaths that occurred in 2006 when compared to 2005 made this the single largest increase in a specific category across all modes. The number of fatalities decreased or remained approximately the same in most other highway vehicle categories. - NTSB

Maybe, just maybe, the requirements for obtaining a driver license should be increased.

Look at the outrage over the EXXON VALDEZ grounding/oil spill. Our highways are the scene of no less a tragedy every year yet nobody cares. Maybe that is because they would have to undergo more training as part of the solution as well. This is one thing that is wrong with America. It is all well and good to bury others in requirements and standards just as long as that does not include you. Driving is not a right, it is a privilege.

There is the common attitude that accidents happen. That too is part of the problem.


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