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Amber Scott
Amber Scott
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Boating tips to keep you from becoming a statistic

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Boating season is here, and whether you plan on leisurely Lake Erie jaunts or heart-pounding regattas, you should always keep safety foremost in your mind, especially given the growing number of boating accidents each year.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s recently released report, boating deaths jumped 12.8 percent in 2011 and are the highest they’ve been since 1998.

Last year, 758 people died and 3,081 were injured in 4,588 boating accidents reported to the Coast Guard. Of these deaths, 70 percent drowned and 84 percent of those who drowned weren’t wearing a life jacket.

Operator inattention ranked first on a list of the top 10 contributing factors that lead to boating accidents. Immediately following include failure to maintain proper lookout for other boats or objects; operator inexperience; excessive speed; machinery failure; alcohol use; hazardous waters; weather; failure to obey the rules of the road; and a strong wave or wake.

A recent story reported the injury of an 11-year old boy who was injured while tubing when his leg came into contact with the propeller of an approaching boat.

In another boating accident, two men drowned when their boat overturned while fishing.

Last week, a boater died of injuries he sustained when his boat collided with another along the Ohio River ramp.

If you plan to ride in or operate a boat, Jet Ski or other personal watercraft this summer, please be sure to follow these nine tips:

  1. Keep abreast of weather conditions
  2. Prepare and follow a pre-departure checklist
  3. Use common sense
  4. Develop a float plan
  5. Wear a life jacket
  6. Don’t operate a boat under the influence
  7. Be able to swim
  8. Have sufficient boating knowledge
  9. Perform a boat check-up prior to departure

We’d love to hear about your summer boating plans. Feel free to comment below!