May 2002

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 2001. This information is compiled to help us direct our efforts to reduce the number of boating accidents, injuries, and fatalities on California's waterways.

In 2001, as well as previous years, boating fatalities have occurred as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. The California Division of Boating and Waterways is working to increase awareness of this danger by providing safety information to boaters and also provide training to law enforcement officers who investigate accidents.

Additionally, an analysis of alcohol-related boating fatalities in 2001 reveals that 40% of those killed were intoxicated passengers, who were either responsible for or contributed to their own deaths. This finding remains consistent with previous years. The Department continues to stress that the “designated driver“ concept does not go far enough and recommends that no one aboard a vessel consume alcoholic beverages.

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

This report is also available on the Department's website, For more information about this or other accident statistics, please contact Amy Rigby by telephone at (916) 327-1848 or by email at


Raynor Tsuneyoshi, Director