Recreational Boating Statistics For New York 2022

Saving lives starts with education

Jay here, founder of Boat Savvy, a company focused on preventing accidents and fatalities on the water. We connect boat owners of all experience levels with qualified Captains to provide boating lessons on the water. 

It is our mission to educate boat owners about the benefits of boat training and further education beyond basic online boating safety courses. 

Below you can find accident statistics for your state, taken directly from U.S. Coast Guard data. We make it easily available to see how safe your local waters are. 

Long story short, we want to make them safer.

The bay, inlets, lakes, and oceans in New York can be very dangerous. In 2022, fatal accidents increased 60% from the prior year, from 15 fatalities in 2021 to 24 in 2022. New York has the 3rd most accidents and 4th most fatalities of any state in the United States in 2022. There are several reasons that boating accidents occur, including operator inexperience, operator inattention and alcohol use. 

Higher numbers of boat owners and population is a factor of boat accidents because of the higher concentration of boaters. Suffolk County, for example, ranks number 1 overall for number of accidents in New York counties. 

Because of the beautiful summer weather in New York, along with the beaches, water sports, and restaurants, boaters tend to get out on the water more often in July and August. This leads to more accidents, injuries and fatalities on the water than any other month of the year. 

If you own a boat in New York, or plan on getting one, you can be at risk of a boating accident any time you head out on the water. If you are looking for a solution to lower your risk, here are 3 helpful tips

  1. Always wear a life jacket 
  2. Never drink alcohol and operate a boat
  3. Get on the water lessons from a qualified captain 

Here at Boat Savvy, we connect boaters with Captains that can provide on the water training for boaters of any experience level, or aspiring boat owners. Contact us today to setup a lesson, or find a captain near you that fits your needs. 

Below you can find a summary of boating accident statistics in New York for 2022. 

New York Boat Accidents, Fatalities and Injuries

There are over 100 boat accidents in New York every year. Reported boating accidents in 2022 were 154, which was a decline of 8 accidents from 2021, but that doesn’t tell the full story. There was an increase in the amount of accidents per 100,000 registered boaters by 56%, from 4.10 to 6.41. 

There were 24 fatal accidents in New York in 2022, which is a 60% increase from 2021. 

There were 67 injuries from boating accidents in New York in 2022, which is a 42.7 % decrease. 

Top 5 Counties for Boat Accidents in New York 2022

Population density and registered vessels plays an important factor in determining which counties in New York see the most accidents. Below are the top 5 counties that had the most boat accidents in 2022. 

  1. Suffolk County – 65
  2. Warren County – 18
  3. Westchester County – 16
  4. Nassau County – 13 
  5. Saratoga/Jefferson – 9

Most Dangerous Month for Boating in New York

July is the most dangerous month for boating in New York since 2005, followed by August. 

New York Boat Accident Types

The majority of boat accidents are collisions with other recreational vessels. The contributing factors of these types of accidents are operation inattention, weather, and operator inexperience. It is important to be a safe and attentive boater at all times to avoid collisions with other vessels. Learning the rules of the road, navigation, and proper maneuvering can help reduce the risk of collision. 

Possible Causes for Boat Accidents in New York

There are numerous reasons that boat accidents occur. Hazardous waters, alcohol use, and excessive speed are some of the causes. 

The age of the operator can also play a role in boat accident risk. It has been shown that ages 41-50 and over 60 were most at risk of being involved in a boating accident. Of the 41-50 age group, the majority of operators reported between 10-500 hours of experience.  Of the over 60 age group, the majority of operators reported over 500 hours of experience. Majority of accidents of all age groups occurred with operators with less than 100 hours of experience. 

One of the biggest causes of boat accidents in 2022 is operator inexperience and inattention. 

The current New York State boat licensing requirements say that if you were born on or after January 1 1978, you must have a Boating Safety Certificate. Everyone will be required to have a Boating Safety Certificate by January 1, 2025. The minimum age to get a recreational boat license is 10 years old. 

Majority of licensed boat operators take an online course to get licensed. While this is a great step up from no education, we don’t believe this is enough to prevent and reduce accidents on our waters. The next step is to further your skills and education by getting a lesson from a qualified captain. 

Since the boating season in New York is typically 5-6 months long, that leaves 6-7 months that many boaters are not operating and therefore, owners boating skills are not sharp. Most boaters report 2-3 outings per month, so that’s an average of 10-15 outings per boating season. There are many situations that you can encounter every time that you head out on the water that some boaters have never experienced, so in our opinion, this is an area that we want to help in. 

Although inexperience is a major factor, any experience level can benefit from a lesson to refresh his or her skills on the water, and learn a new tip that could potentially save a life or prevent an accident. 

New York Alcohol-Related Boat Accidents, Injuries & Fatalities 

Another significant contributing factor in the number of boat accidents is the use of alcohol by boat operators. Total alcohol related boat accidents, injuries and fatalities decreased in 2022 from the previous year, but are still a cause of concern when it comes to boating accidents. 

New York Boat Accident Statistics

Book a Boating Lesson From a Qualified Captain in New York

At Boat Savvy, we take boat safety seriously for a reason. We are on a mission to help provide a safe and enjoyable boating environment for all. 

That is why we created an easy way to find local captains that provide on the water training and instruction. Get in touch with a local New York Captain today and become a safer boater. 


In This Article

our captains are ready to train

Boat Savvy can connect you with local Captains in your area that provide boating lessons. Online safety courses are not enough to prevent accidents and fatalities from increasing. We are doing our part to spread the word, and we hope that you consider protecting yourself, your family and others.