Letter from
the Director

2000 California Boating Safety Report

May 2001

Dear Boating Enthusiast:

California ranks second nationally in the number of recreational vessels. As crowded waterways lead to an increased chance of accidents, it is not surprising that California ranks second in the number of boating accidents and first in the number of boating fatalities. Because of this, it is important to supply the boating public with the best information possible to enhance safety on the water.

A primary focus of this publication is the analysis of boating accidents that occurred in 2000. This information is compiled to help us direct our efforts to reduce the number of boating accidents, injuries and fatalities on California's waterways. Continuing to provide education to anglers is a priority for the Department, as 49% of boating fatalities in 2000 occurred during fishing-related activities. An analysis of all alcohol-related fatal boating accidents reveals that 2/3 of victims were intoxicated passengers who either were responsible for or contributed to their own deaths. The Department continues to stress that the "designated operator" concept does not go far enough and recommends that no one aboard a vessel consume alcoholic beverages.

In 2000, the Department sponsored legislation (AB 2538 - Brewer) that requires persons under 12 years of age to wear life jackets in vessels 26 feet or less while underway. AB 2538 also requires persons on personal watercraft and persons being towed behind a vessel to wear lifejackets, with exceptions. The bill successfully passed the Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Davis. AB 2538's effective date was January 1, 2001.

The report also includes information about the Department's efforts to promote boating safety through law enforcement and safety education programs which involve essential, direct interaction with the boating community.

For more information about this report, or other accident statistics, please contact Amy Rigby at (916) 327-1848, or by e-mail (Amy.Rigby@parks.ca.gov).


Raynor T. Tsuneyoshi