Front Page: Traficom
Front Page: Traficom

Pleasure boating accidents that resulted in death have decresed in the recent years, even though boating is becoming more popular. Regardless, accidents still happen, especially in Finland's inland waters. In 2023, 34 people perished in pleasure boating accidents, which is seven people more than the previous year. These facts appear in the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom's statistics. Most accidents occurred in the Vuoksi basin area. Being under the influence of alcohol, not wearing a life jacket and an unstable boat increase the risk of accidents.

Huviveneilyonnettomuuksissa vuonna 2023 menehtyi 34 ihmistä, joista 32 oli miehiä ja kaksi naisia. Eniten kuolonuhreja oli Vuoksen vesistön alueella.
During 2014 to 2023, circa 27 to 52 people have perished in pleasure boating accidents yearly. In recent years, most deaths occurred in Vuoksi basin area, as well as Gulf of Finland. People killed in pleasure boating accidents in 2023: 34 dead (32 men, 2 women) | 26 over 55 yo., 8 under 55 yo.

Finland’s boating safety has improved slightly in the recent years. The number of boating accidents has not changed drastically with the increase in boating popularity and accidents resulting in death have decreased in the long run. 

In 2023, 34 people perished in Finnish waters. In comparison to the previous year, there was an increase of 7 fatalities. In 2018, for example, there were as many as 52 similar deaths. 

Of the people that perished in boating accidents in 2023, 32 were men and 2 were women. Additionally, over three out of four fatalities were people over the age of 55. Most accidents resulting in death occurred in the Vuoksi basin area and Gulf of Finland. In these areas, there have been multiple more fatalities in comparison to a couple of year ago.

Alcohol, no life jacket and an unstable boat increase the risk of drowning

Most of the accidents resulting in death happen on rowing boats and small outboard motor boats. The accidents are rarely caused by technical faults or the weather. Usually, the cause is lack of preparedness and human factors. Alcohol is a part of over half of the fatalities. 

“Being under the influence of alcohol, not wearing a life jacket and an unstable boat - this is the trio that increases the risk of accidents on waters significantly. Wearing a life jacket or other personal flotation devices in all boats would decrease the number of accidents resulting in death. Practising climbing onto an unstable boat from the water would benefit us all.  Additionally, you should not drink alcohol before or during boating. Every boater can enhance their own safety and the safety of others with their own attitude and being smart about their activities,” says Chief Adviser Kimmo Patrakka

Check list of safe boating: 

  • Make sure you know your boat and that your boat is undamaged and safe. Check the condition of your gear and that you have everything you need with you.
  • Check the boating conditions before setting sail.
  • If the boating requires route planning, take with you nautical charts that are up-to-date. Tell your loved ones the planned route.
  • Make sure you have enough fuel and have some spare.
  • Master the right-of-way rules. Familiarise yourself with the Water Traffic Act and the responsibilities of the Master of the Boat.
  • Save the number of the Maritime search and rescue to your contacts: +358 294 1000. In inland waters, the emergency call is made to the number 112.
  • Boat only when sober. Wear a life jacket or other personal floatation devices before leaving and keep them on hand.

Additional information:

Statistics on water traffic accidents (External link)

Chief Adviser Kimmo Patrakka, tel. +358 29 534 6450 

Special Adviser Pasi Kilpelä,, tel. +358 29 534 6053 (statistics)