Skydiving Safety

The sport of skydiving continues to improve its safety record. In 2016, USPA recorded 21 fatal skydiving accidents in the U.S. out of roughly 3.2 million jumps. That’s one fatality per 153,557 jumps—one of the lowest rates in the sport’s history! Tandem skydiving has an even better safety record, with one student fatality per 500,000 tandem jumps over the past decade. According to the National Safety Council, a person is much more likely to be killed getting struck by lightning or stung by a bee.

In the 1970s, the sport averaged 42.5 skydiving fatalities per year. Since then, the average has dropped each decade. In the 1980s, the average was 34.1; in the 1990s, the average was 32.3, and in the first decade of the new millennium (2000-2009), the average dropped again to 25.8. Over the past seven years, the annual average continues its decline to 22.1.

With 14 fatalities, 1961—the first year records were kept—stands as the year with the fewest skydiving fatalities. However, USPA was considerably smaller then, with just 3,353 members, and the total number of jumps was far fewer than today.

Fatalities per Total Jumps
Year Skydiving Fatalities in U.S. Estimated Annual Jumps Fatalities Per 1,000 Jumps
2016 21 3.2 million 0.0065
2015 21 3.5 million 0.0061
2014 24 3.2 million 0.0075
2013 24 3.2 million 0.0075
2012 19 3.1 million 0.0061
2011 25 3.1 million 0.0081
2010 21 3.0 million 0.0070
2009 16 3.0 million 0.0053
2008 30 2.6 million 0.0115
2007 18 2.5 million 0.0072
2006 21 2.5 million 0.0084
2005 27 2.6 million 0.0104
2004 21 2.6 million 0.0081
2003 25 2.6 million 0.096
2002 33 2.6 million 0.0127
2001 35 2.6 million 0.0135
2000 32 2.7 million 0.0119

In 2016, USPA members in the U.S. reported 2,129 skydiving injuries requiring a medical care facility. That’s approximately 1 injury per 1,515 skydives.

These safety records stand as a testament to decades of strict safety standards, training policies and programs, including a USPA Safety Day taking place every March, as well as improvements in skydiving equipment over the years.

Skydiving involves inherent risks, but most skydiving accidents result from human error. With proper preparation and good judgment, skydivers can minimize those risks. Thanks to safer equipment, better training and the staffs at more than 240 USPA-affiliated skydiving centers across the country, skydiving continues to become safer.

Safe Skydiving Centers

Skydiving centers, clubs and schools that join as USPA Group Member drop zones are required to provide USPA-developed first-jump courses, use current USPA-rated instructors and provide USPA-required skydiving equipment. Click here for a list of USPA Group Members.