Boat Accident Statistics in Alaska


Alaska’s location means residents and visitors enjoy extremely long summer days, from around 19 to 22 hours in Anchorage and up to a 24-hour period of daylight in northern parts of the state. For this reason, avid boaters enthusiastically look forward to the season all year. Unfortunately, as with any outdoor activity, there are risks involved with boating. According to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR), there are up to a dozen fatalities every year and many other victims suffer injuries in boating accidents.


The majority of these incidents are preventable and only occur because of operator negligence, so victims do have rights. An Alaska boating accident lawyer can explain your legal remedies, since you could suffer significant losses as an injured victim. Plus, additional statistics are a powerful reminder of the dangers of on-the-water mishaps.


Concerning Data on Boat Accident Fatalities and Injuries 

In addition to the DNR numbers, some statistics from the US Coast Guard also highlight the risks involved with boating accidents:

  • There are more than 4,100 accidents reported to officials every year, resulting in almost 630 fatalities and another 2,600 injured victims nationwide.
  • Around three-quarters of all fatalities from boat accidents are drownings.
  • Up to 80% of all boaters who drowned in accidents were in a vessel less than 21 feet in length.


As it does in other types of accidents, alcohol plays a role in boating collisions. At 17%, operating a watercraft while intoxicated is the leading factor behind boating accident deaths. Accidents are also caused by operator inexperience, distractions, failure to look out for obstacles, and excessive speed.


Common Types of Boat Accident Injuries 

The biggest threat to your safety in a boating accident is the water that surrounds you. Among all victims who were killed in these incidents, 85% were not wearing a life jacket. Victims who survive may suffer from:

  • Concussion and other traumatic brain injury (TBI);
  • Broken bones, scrapes, and abrasions;
  • Deep cuts;
  • Amputation, especially around propeller-powered vessels;
  • Hyperthermia;
  • Neck and spinal cord injuries; and,
  • Many others.


Because most boaters carry liability insurance to protect against loss, your first step as a victim will be filing a claim with the at-fault boater’s insurer. It may be possible to resolve your claim by agreement, but you will need to file a lawsuit in court if you cannot settle with the insurance company. Note that Alaska’s statute of limitations imposes a deadline of two years, and the clock starts to run the date of the accident.


Count on an Anchorage, AK Boat Accident Lawyer

While this overview may be helpful in covering the basics, there are many other details and legal subtleties involved with boating accident claims in Alaska. You can expect the insurance company to fight to avoid paying you, and the complications only increase if you need to go to court. For more information on your rights and remedies, please contactPower & Power Law to speak to a member of our team. We can schedule a no-cost consultation to discuss your options at our offices in Anchorage.