Objective To estimate the association between wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) and death by drowning among recreational boaters.
Design Matched cohort study analysis of Coast Guard data.
Setting United States.
Subjects Recreational boaters during 2000–2006.
Main outcome measures Risk ratio (RR) for drowning death comparing boaters wearing a PFD with boaters not wearing a PFD.
Results Approximately 4915 boater records from 1809 vessels may have been eligible for our study, but because of missing records and other problems, the analysis was restricted to 1597 boaters in 625 vessels with 878 drowning deaths. The adjusted RR was 0.51 (95% CI 0.35 to 0.74).
Conclusions If the estimated association is causal, wearing a PFD may potentially prevent one in two drowning deaths among recreational boaters. However, this estimate may be biased because many vessels had to be excluded from the analysis.
- Cohort studies
- conditional Poisson regression
- epidemiologic methods
- epidemiologic research design
- matched analysis
- missing data
- personal floatation device
- selection bias
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Funding This work was supported by grant 5R49CE000197-05 from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.