The most common cause of fatalities amongst recreational boaters is getting drunk and falling overboard.
That’s one reason I run an alcohol-free boat. The other is that the water is so much fun, who needs a drink?
The next greatest danger for recreation boaters is fire, not so much for outboards–because everything is pretty much out in the open–but for I/Os and inboards. If there’s a leak or a mistake, gas fumes can build up in the engine compartment and kabloeey!
I was out on the Chesapeake one day and saw a recreational boat burning. It’s a pretty gruesome sight–lots of smoke and the fire doesn’t go out until it reaches the waterline.
Fiberglass burns good.
I feel for the couple and their loss. I once met a couple at Georgetown Yacht Basin who, upon retirement, had purchased a sailboat and pretty much used it as their home as the sailed about North America, much as some persons purchase RVs and cruise KOA.
I wonder whether they had the boat inspected by a marine surveyor when they bought it–buying a boat to sail down the Intracoastal Waterway is a lot bigger investment than buying a little runabout to trailer from here to there.
And, you know, the water is a dangerous place. And what you can see from the boat is only the top of it.