Table 2

Alcohol involvement in deaths arising from recreational boating: summary of results from main studies

Country and yearsPopulation*Boating†Alcohol determination criteria
*Study population for the whole study from which the boating data come, plus relevant information about the activity of the subjects included in the results for this table (which attempts to only cover recreational boating).
†“n” represents the total number of persons in the study in the boating (or similar) category.
United States (New York), 1988–94; Browne et al, 200340All unintentional drowningsn = 207Death within 6 hours; blood taken with 24 hours of death
Persons ⩾15 years; water craft related (>90% recreational)More than zero44%
>0.0533%Available for 73 (35%)
United States (Louisiana), 1998; CDC, 200141All drowningsn = 34Alcohol (and/or drugs) present in autopsy sample
Persons ⩾13 years; “boating related” (<10% occupational)More than zero48%Available for 27 (79%)
United States (Maryland and North Carolina), 1990–98; Smith et al, 200128Recreational boating fatalities (nearly all drowned) occurring from April to October inclusiven = 253Autopsy blood alcohol levels adjusted for time since death; bodies recovered within one week
More than zero55%
>0.0536%Available for 221 (87%)
Persons ⩾18 years>0.1027%
United States (California), 1974–85; Wintemute et al, 198832All drowningsn = 43Death within 6 hours; blood taken with 24 hours of death
Persons ⩾20 years; recreational boating, raftingMore than zero50%
>0.0535%Available for 14 (33%)
Canada, 1999; Canadian Red Cross Society, 200033All drowning deathsn = 116“Blood testing”—no more details
Persons ⩾15 years; recreational boatingMore than zero47%Available for 76 (66%)
Australia (Geelong), 1959–83; Plueckhahn, 198436“Accidental” drowningsn = 62“Valid” blood alcohol levels in autopsy blood sample
Persons ⩾15 years; “water transport accidents”More than zero34%
⩾0.0817%Available for 29 (47%)
United States (Maryland), 1968–72; Dietz and Baker, 197434“Accidental” drowningsn = ?“Blood tests”; body submerged less than 12 hours
Persons 15 years or older, “boating”More than zero57%
>0.1043%Available for 7 (unknown %)
United States, 2000; US Coast Guard, 200142“Recreational boating” fatalities (74% of persons drowned)n  =  701“Evidence or a reasonable likelihood that alcohol was consumed by a boat’s occupants”
“Cause”14%Available for an unknown % of boating deaths
Denmark, 1989–93; Steensberg, 199839All “accidental” drowning deathsn = 94Information on alcohol involvement from the death certificate summary
Persons ⩾15 years“Under the influence”15%Available for an unknown % of boating deaths
Finland, 1986–88; Lunetta et al, 199843Fatal leisure boat “accidents” (94% of persons drowned)n = 510 (340 deceased)Blood alcohol values probably based on blood tests, but did not necessarily relate to the victim (apparently sometimes being from the operator of a boat from which a passenger was killed)
⩾0.10Operators: 67%
Persons ⩾15 yearsPassengers: 76%
⩾0.15Operators: 59%
Passengers: 65%Available for 450 (88%)
United States (Ohio), 1983–86; Molberg et al, 199344“Recreational boating” fatalities (80% due to drowning)n = 124Judgment about alcohol use by investigators—minimal toxicological testing
Age not specified“Cause”7%Available for an unknown % of boating deaths
United States (North Carolina), 1980–84; Patetta and Biddinger, 198838Unintentional drowningsn = ? (total number not known)Alcohol present in autopsy blood sample
Persons ⩾15 years; “motorboating”>0.10>20%Available for an unknown % of boating deaths, but for 87% of all drownings
Australia (Geelong), 1967–71; Plueckhahn, 197235“Accidental” drowningsn = ? (total number not known)Alcohol present in autopsy blood sample
Persons ⩾16 years; “boating”More than zero67%Available for 3 (unknown % of boating deaths, but available for 69% of all drownings)