A Trauma Systems Assessment of Boating Safety: A Comparison of Commercial and Recreational Boating Practices

Ciraulo, David L.; Smith, Philip; Ciraulo, Sandra C.
June 2000
American Surgeon;Jun2000, Vol. 66 Issue 6, p604
Academic Journal
OBJECTIVE: With contemporary interest of Trauma Systems and injury prevention strategists focusing upon boating safety, a prospective study was designed to survey practices of commercial and recreational boaters' compliance with United States Coast Guard (USCG) regulations. Data were collected by interview survey. Information was obtained from 24 commercial and 57 recreational boaters. Prevalence rates were calculated for compliance with USCG regulations. An analysis for statistical difference was conducted using the Wilcoxon rank sum test. Data analysis revealed that commercial boaters statistically spend more days on the water per year and have more years of boating experience than do recreational boaters (P < 0.05). No statistical difference was demonstrated between commercial and recreational boaters for life jacket-to-crew member ratio, swimming competency, or compliance with USCG safety equipment, with exception to flotation suits. The prevalence of alcohol use by the operators of commercial and recreational boats was found to be 8 and 12 per cent (P < 0.60) respectively, and for crew members 8 and 35 per cent (P < 0.01), respectively. Boating practices in these sample populations conform to USCG regulations. Swimming competency exhibited by these boaters is complementary to safe boating behaviors. The consumption of alcohol while boating, although comparable to reported statistics, is still of concern to injury prevention strategists.


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