The Istanbul Strait is a challenging waterway for maritime traffic due to its rough topology, moderate to severe environmental conditions, and heavy local traffic. In particular, a total of 232 maritime accidents took place there between 2000 and 2011. In this study, generic fuzzy analytic hierarchy processes were used to assess the risk perception of stakeholders in the Istanbul Strait, including ship captains, maritime pilots and Vessel Traffic Services operators. These risk perceptions were then compared to the statistical maritime accident data, revealing a fundamental discrepancy between the risk perception and statistical data. Specifically, the area of the Straight with the highest number of accidents is perceived as relatively low-risk, whereas areas perceived as high-risk experience a lower number of accidents. Our results have implications for stakeholders as well as government agencies responsible for the safety of the Straight.