National Safe Boating Week Promotes On-The-Water Safety For U.S. Boaters

Every year, more than 70 million Americans participate in recreational boating.

Whether or not you are an avid boater, approximately 95% of Americans live within an hour’s drive of a large body of water — so you will likely find yourself on a boat at some point this summer. Though you’re primary concern is relaxation while you’re out on the water, realistically, your main concern should always be safety.

According to The Islands’ Sounder, May 19th through May 25th has been dubbed National Safe Boating Week.

Boating and fishing season is officially underway. As people start gathering their fishing equipment and head out onto the open water, boating safety is a primary focus this year.

Generally, boating crashes and fatalities are decreasing, but there are still plenty of incidents that occur on U.S. bodies of water that result in wrecked boats, severe injuries, and even fatal loss of life.

According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, human error accounts for approximately 70% of all water accidents. Additionally, 80% of boating fatalities could have been prevented if proper safety measures, like wearing sufficient life jackets, were followed.

“Of course, we are concerned about boating safety all year long,” said Wade Alonzo, State Parks Boating Program Manager. “But we find that on-the-water accidents and fatalities increase as the weather warms up, and more people get out on the water.”

Already this boating season, five people died in Washington state from boating-related incidents. During 2017, 109 boating crashes were reported, resulting in 51 injuries and 15 fatalities. Sadly, of the 15 boating-related deaths, 73% of victims were not wearing their life jackets.

The National Safe Boating Council has initiated Safe Boating Week and recommends always wearing a life jacket, having multiple quality commutation devices, avoiding alcohol and drug consumption, paying attention to weather conditions, scheduling vessel safety checks, and staying on-top of proper education and preparation in order to remain safe on the water.

The U.S. Coast Guard adds that in 2016, the top five states for boating-related fatalities were Florida (70 deaths), Texas (53), California (47), Michigan (38), and Louisiana (24).

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