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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Recreational Boating Injuries Treated in U.S. Emergency Departments: 2001 & 2002

Susan MacLean, RN PhD, Pierre Désy, MPH, Cydne Perhats, MPH, and Altair Juarez, MPH. Emergency Nurses Association, 915 Lee Street, Des Plaines, IL 60016, 847.460.4082, pdesy@ena.org


Data on the extent of recreational boating injuries are lacking. To learn more about this problem, the Emergency Nurses Association, in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard, conducted a national study on boating-injured patients who were treated in U.S. emergency departments during 2001 and 2002.


This multi-site study used a prospective survey design to collect data from boating-injured patients during their ED visit. Using an 83-item questionnaire, trained emergency nurses in 75 emergency departments from 41 states conducted 908 volunteer patient/family interviews that gathered information on boating conditions, patient safety education and experience, mechanism, type and severity of injury, and environmental, operational and behavioral factors.


Descriptive data indicate that operator controllable factors, as opposed to environmental factors or equipment failure, most frequently contributed to these recreational boating accidents and subsequent injury. To test the hypothesis that boating safety education was a protective factor for operator risk behavior, a series of Pearson correlations were performed. Results indicate that operators and passengers who took a boating safety course were more likely to wear a Personal Flotation Device (p < .01) and have more hours of boating experience (p < .001). They were also less likely to speed or to drink alcohol (p < .001).


Findings suggest that recreational boating operators are more likely to use safe boating practices when they have received boating safety education. Recommendations include establishing safety policies and educational programs that focus on reducing operator error and improving safe boating skills.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Unintentional Injuries Poster Session

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA