May 2003

Dear Boating Enthusiast:

California ranks second nationally in the number of registered vessels. As crowded waterways lead to an increased chance of accidents, it is not surprising that California also ranks second in the number of boating accidents. 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 2002. 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 2002, 50% of boating fatalities were found to be alcohol-related where testing could be conducted. Of those killed in alcohol-related accidents, 60% were intoxicated passengers. The vast majority (75%) of those passengers 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 boating 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