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Non-commercial, accidental water transport (boating) fatalities

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A study of non-commercial accidental water transport (boating) fatalities was performed on the case files of the Office of the Medical Examiner of Metropolitan Dade County in Miami, Fla., during the years 1980–1984. A total of 23 cases were collected and analyzed as to the age, race, sex, and the cause of death of the victim along with the blood alcohol content and the Urine EMIT drug screen at autopsy. Furthermore, the type of boat involved, the geographic locale, the time of the incident, the reason or risk factor for the incident, and the scene circumstances were also noted. Commonly, one is dealing with a male population below the age of 30 years who die of drowning. In approximately half of the cases alcohol is detected. The scenario involves “small” boats or canoes in the Atlantic Ocean or in canals in the afternoon or evening. Inexperience in boating/or stupidity plays a key role. A discussion ensues concerning recommendations designed to avoid such tragedies.


Es wird über 23 Todesfälle nach Bootsunglücken berichtet; es handelte sich um nicht-kommerziellen Bootsverkehr. Unter forensisch-medizinischen, technischen und epidemiologischen Aspekten wurden die Handakten des „Medical Examiner of Metropolitan Dade County“ in Miami, Florida, aus den Jahren 1980–1984 untersucht. Die Opfer waren zumeist junge Männer unter 30 Jahren, die einen Ertrinkungstod erlitten. Die Unfallursachen waren zumeist Unerfahrenheit oder mangelnde Vorsicht; in der Hälfte der Fälle bestand Alkoholeinfluß. Präventive Sicherheitsbestimmungen für den Freizeit-Bootsverkehr werden angeregt.

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Copeland, A.R. Non-commercial, accidental water transport (boating) fatalities. Z Rechtsmed 96, 291–296 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00200708

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Key words

  • Boating fatalities, accident prevention
  • Influence of alcohol, boating fatalities


  • Bootsunfälle, Unfallverhütung
  • Alkoholeinfluß, Bootsunfälle