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A case–control study of boat-related injuries and fatalities in Washington State
  1. Sarah Stempski1,
  2. Melissa Schiff2,3,
  3. Elizabeth Bennett4,
  4. Linda Quan5,6
  1. 1Department of Health Education, Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, Washington, USA
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  3. 3Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA
  4. 4Department of External Affairs and Guest Services, Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, Washington, USA
  5. 5Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA
  6. 6Department of Emergency Medicine, Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, Washington, USA
  1. Correspondence to Sarah Stempski, Department of Health Education, Seattle Children's Hospital, 4800 Sand Point Way NE, M/S T5112, Seattle, WA 98105, USA; sarah.stempski{at}seattlechildrens.org

Abstract

Objectives To identify risk factors associated with boat-related injuries and deaths.

Methods We performed a case–control study using the Washington Boat Accident Investigation Report Database for 2003–2010. Cases were fatally injured boat occupants, and controls were non-fatally injured boat occupants involved in a boating incident. We evaluated the association between victim, boat and incident factors and risk of death using Poisson regression to estimate RRs and 95% CIs.

Results Of 968 injured boaters, 26% died. Fatalities were 2.6 times more likely to not be wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) and 2.2 times more likely to not have any safety features on their boat compared with those who survived. Boating fatalities were more likely to be in a non-motorised boat, to have alcohol involved in the incident, to be in an incident that involved capsizing, sinking, flooding or swamping, and to involve a person leaving the boat voluntarily, being ejected or falling than those who survived.

Conclusions Increasing PFD use, safety features on the boat and alcohol non-use are key strategies and non-motorised boaters are key target populations to prevent boating deaths.

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