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post #14 of Old 06-19-2012
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Re: USCG 2011 Boating Statistics

Originally Posted by msmith10 View Post
An analysis would be more helpful than a lot of the raw data presented. You have to be very careful how you interpret statistics given with little background data.
For instance, the Executive Summary states "Sixty (60) percent of the children who died in 2011 died from drowning. Seventy-eight (78) per-cent of those who drowned were wearing a life jacket as required by state and federal law. "
You could take this to mean that a child is 3 times more likely to drown if wearing a life jacket.
Falls overboard had by far the highest rate of lethality (57%). Of course, this is reported falls overboard. The vast majority of falls overboard don't get reported because there is no serious consequence. Collisions with another vessel have the lowest lethality (4%). However, even in the absence of serious consequence collisions are likely to be reported (think insurance settlement).
Likewise, "11% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction."
This is useless information unless we know the overall % of operators who had received instruction. It could be that the higher the rate of instruction, the higher the fatality rate.
Interesting reading, nonetheless.
While your point is valid, I donít think any further analysis would actually help very much because, as you have pointed out, the data is incomplete. I donít believe data exists to fill in the blanks.

Taken individually, these are still pretty compelling statistics and you can still make some reasonable deductions if you think about it. Of course you can always draw wrong conclusions if you try to combine different pieces of data without thinking about it.

Following that train of thought, my favorite statistic is that there is a direct correlation between ice cream sales and drownings. This could lead to the conclusion that ice cream is in some way involved in drownings. Of course people both buy ice cream and go into the water when it is hot. To draw a meaningful conclusion by combining incomplete data, you have engage your brain rather than taking things at face value. And you might still be wrong.

I still don't want to get in the way of that drunk, untrained, inattentive novice in the open powerboat.
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