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Summer boaters are encouraged to be safe and responsible

Recreational boating activity soars in the summer months, and so do boating accidents. In 2013, the U.S. Coast Guard counted 4,062 accidents that resulted in 560 deaths, 2,620 injuries, and approximately $39 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.

In a 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics report released by the Coast Guard, it was found that where the cause of death was known in boating accidents, 77% was a result of drowning. Of those drowning victims, 84% were not wearing a life jacket. The report also found that eight out of every ten boaters who drowned were using vessels less than 21 feet in length. 46% were open motorboats, 18% personal watercraft, and 17% cabin motorboats. Canoes, kayaks and pontoon boats also accounted for many accidents.

Alcohol use was the leading known contributing factor in recreational boating accidents where the primary cause was known. It was listed as the leading factor in 16% of deaths. Other primary contributing factors to boat accidents, included operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and machine failure.

The top boating accident types included collision with another recreational vessel, flooding, collision with a fixed object, grounding, or skier mishap.

What are the Best Boating Practices?

Safe boating practices can help save lives. Following common sense rules, such as requiring that everyone on the boat wear a life jacket, can ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. About 62% of the children under the age of thirteen who drowned in boating accidents in 2013 were not wearing a life jacket as required by state and federal law, according to the Coast Guard.

Other common sense safety practice includes never drinking alcohol while on a boat and always operating the boat at a safe speed and maintaining a careful lookout. It also helps to take a boating safety course, which may help you qualify for a reduced insurance rate, in addition to giving you quality safety instruction. Before heading out on the water, make sure you check the weather and understand and obey boating safety recommendations and navigational rules. You should continue to monitor the weather forecast as you are out on the water and know your boat’s limitations.

Another threat to boaters is carbon monoxide poisoning. Be sure to use a carbon monoxide detector on your boat, as this poisonous gas can kill in minutes. In 2013, 5 people died of carbon monoxide poisoning while boating.

The U.S. Coast Guard also recommends that you always tell a friend or family member where you plan to go and when you will be back when boating. You should also have an operational fire extinguisher on the boat for each trip.

Follow the above safety tips, stay aware when boating, and enjoy your summer on the water.

If you have been injured in a boating accident, the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can fight for you. Visit

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