According to preliminary statistics, last year was the safest in history for boaters. 33 people were killed in boating accidents, which is well below the average.
“In September, we estimated that last year had the potential to be the safest boating year in history, and it's great that our estimation came true. In terms of boating safety, there is no better gift us boaters could have given the 100-year-old Finland, and we hope that the same positive safety trend will go on in future boating seasons, too”, says Head of Unit Ville Räisänen.
“Naturally, weather affects the amount of boating, which will surely contribute to the accident statistics. Last year, there were seven lethal accidents in both June and October. Perhaps the warm weather in early October made people want to make up for the few boating days that were due to the cold summer”, ponders Räisänen.
According to the preliminary statistics on water transport accidents, 33 people were killed in boating accidents in 2017, whereas 48 people lost their lives in the previous year. All in all, 35 people were killed in water traffic accidents, 2 of which were in merchant shipping.
Similarly to previous years, the majority of the accidents were caused by motor boat capsizing or swaying.
“Many statistical entries could be avoided in motor boat accidents if people always remembered to use the engine emergency off switch”, reminds Räisänen.
Using the motor boat emergency off switch may save a life when someone falls off a boat or has a health episode. This way, we can avoid the boat getting away in an uncontrolled way or, at the worst, people being run over by their own boats.
Last year, there were 7 lethal rowing boat accidents, which is considerably fewer than the year before with 20 such accidents.
“This is a very positive trend. Hopefully, it is a sign of a change in safety culture and that life vests have also found their way to fishing trips people do near the shore by their summer houses”, says Räisänen.
Trafi is participating in the boat show Vene 18 Båt held 9–18 February. You are welcome to meet the Trafi experts on boating at department 7a128.
Ville Räisänen, Head of Unit., tel. +358 29 5346 457, ville.raisanen(at)trafi.fi, on Twitter @villeraisanen