Friday, April 07, 2017

Lake Accident Statistics for 2016

As part of the annual "How Safe is the Lake of the Ozarks" page update, here's the breakdown of incidents reported for all of 2016.  This is only for the the Lake of the Ozarks, and only those incidents reported by the Missouri Water Patrol.

In summary, some 133 incidents were reported last year and one breakdown is to look at the numbers by severity.

Number of Non-Injury Incidents 74
Fatal Incidents                           8
Serious Injury                                   9
Moderate Injury                         25
Minor Injury                                 17
Total                                              133

2016 didn’t start off well for boating and injury incidents on the lake, with the first fatality in January during and unseasonably warm weekend. The final breakdown of incidents for the year by description is as follows:

NEAR DROWNING                                                              2
FIRE/EXPLOSION (NON FUEL)                                              1
FIRE/EXPLOSION (UNKNOWN ORIGIN)                      4
COLLISION WITH FIXED OBJECT                                    18
COLLISION WITH WATERCRAFT                                    17
COLLISION WITH FLOATING OBJECT                              1
CAPSIZING                                                                              3
GROUNDING                                                                      4
SWAMPING                                                                              1
DROWNING                                                                              6
PERSON(S) FALLS OVERBOARD                                      2
PERSON(S) IMPACTS WATERCRAFT                            34
PERSON(S) STRUCK BY PROP/WATER JET                      4
PERSON(S) EJECTED FROM WATERCRAFT                      9
TOWED WATERSPORT MISHAP                                    18
Total                                                                                  133

From a "Fatality Rate" point of view, which is what next month's U.S.Coast Guard report for 2016 will focus on, the Lake of the Ozarks remains unchanged from 2015 with 8 fatalities and likely within the average for the entire state.

It may be possible to analyze this data into more meaningful risk assessments but would need to be looked at on an incident by incident basis for extenuating circumstances such as time of day. Incidents involving "fixed objects" is a top category, but what were the objects? No wake buoys? Docks?  Hit a no wake buoy and you might throw an outdrive, but hit a dock and serious damage and injury is likely.

As time goes on I'll keep these reports and start tracking them. With this kind of data we can begin to track trends, but at this time I see nothing to indicate the lake has become more, or less, dangerous than it has been in years past.  As the 2017 season begins in earnest, here's hoping that everyone has a safe and fun summer!

Monday, April 03, 2017

March 2017 Lake Levels and Flow Rates

Lake levels began rising on March 9th towards full pool by Memorial Weekend. March levels started low and remain about a half a foot under the five year moving average (in orange). Very modest power generation and days of rain should help bring the lake to normal conditions without difficulty. Summer is coming!