Let's not lose sight of the fact that one of the most compelling statistics is that, of 533 drowings, life jackets were not being worn in 415 of the cases.
Interestingly, if I read this and the state's boating laws correctly; In the two states with the highest number of fatalities: California and Florida; California does not have mandatory boater education class and Florida has a requirement for those born after 1988 ( 24 and younger at this point)
, New York only requires jet ski operators to attend a safety class...NY fatalities are going in the wrong direction.
For those that oppose mandatory education for everyone...
I suppose if the authorities really wanted to dramatically reduce the boating deaths they could make it mandatory for everyone on recreational vessels 26' or less to wear a life jacket, In those states where the majority of the deaths occur. There were 118 drownings in canoes and kayaks and 253 in open motor boats. ( probably under 26 ft. I didn't check)
I'm not proposing that. But, here in my state of NJ, every single operator of a motorized vessel MUST take a course, and we average about 8 deaths a year. While, California and Florida average over 100 deaths a year and have much looser regulations.
Seems like a more targeted solution would be in order...if saving lives is what we're after.