The sport of skydiving continues to improve its safety record. In 2018, USPA recorded 13 fatal skydiving accidents in the U.S. out of roughly 3.3 million jumps—the lowest number in the sport’s history! That’s one fatality per 253,669 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 nine years, the annual average continues its decline to 21.3.
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.