Alcohol and no life jackets a lethal combine for CT boaters in 2021

On a heat, barely overcast Sunday afternoon final Aug. 8, boaters close to the Salmon River boat launch on the Connecticut River in East Haddam seen a private watercraft drifting with no rider.

Lower than an hour later, state environmental police recovered a person’s physique floating close by in a no-wake zone. Stephen Fabian, 59, of Moodus, had fallen off the watercraft and drowned. State environmental officers stated his life jacket was ill-fitting and had slide up round his head, and the state Division of Vitality and Environmental Safety (DEEP) reported that his blood-alcohol stage was nicely over the authorized intoxication restrict.

“The best way he died was tragic,” his finest pal, Dana Pitts of Westbrook, stated. “He introduced it on himself.” Fabian, a former licensed sensible nurse, had as soon as rescued a boater after a crash on the Connecticut River and carried out cardiopulmonary resuscitation till medical personnel arrived, his household reported.

As a boating accident, Fabian’s was as typical because it was unhappy. The good majority of cruising accidents in the USA happen as a result of individuals fail to concentrate, put on life jackets, or are utilizing substances, stated Walt Taylor, leisure boating security specialist for the US Coast Guard in Boston.

On Sunday, one individual was killed and 7 others, together with at the least two youngsters, had been injured when their boat crashed on the Connecticut River in Portland. The circumstances of the crash weren’t instantly often called DEEP and different businesses continued the investigation on Monday.

In 2021, the Coast Guard reported 43 boating accidents and 7 deaths in Connecticut. In 2020, there have been extra boating accidents in Connecticut — 54 — however fewer deaths, three, based on the Coast Guard’s annual Leisure Boating Statistics report.


Small although these numbers are, what’s placing in regards to the fatalities is that each one of them might have been prevented. Taylor stated he avoids calling boating mishaps accidents, preferring the phrase “incidents,” since they’re usually the results of selections.

5 of the seven males who died boating in Connecticut waters in 2021 weren’t carrying life jackets, and a sixth, Fabian, wore an ill-fitting one. Had they been carrying correct life jackets — technically often called private flotation units or PFDs — they possible would have survived, Taylor stated. The seventh died of blunt pressure trauma.

As in Connecticut, nationally, boating accidents declined in 2021 to 4,439 from 5,265 in 2020. However in contrast to in Connecticut, boating fatalities nationwide additionally declined from 2020 to 2021, from 767 to 658.