The sport of skydiving continues to improve its safety record. In 2019, USPA recorded 15 fatal skydiving accidents in the U.S. out of roughly 3.3 million jumps! That’s one fatality per 220,301 jumps! 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 ten years, the annual average continues its decline to 20.7.
With 14 fatalities, 1961—the first year records were kept—previously stood as the year with the fewest skydiving fatalities. However, there were far fewer skydivers then (just 3,353 USPA members compared to roughly 40,000 now), making far fewer jumps than today.
In 2019, USPA members in the U.S. reported 2,522 skydiving injuries requiring a medical care facility. That’s approximately 1 injury per 1,310 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 220 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. Find a list here of USPA Group Members.