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Drinking and Boating: Just as Fatal as Driving a Car



Boating while drinking appears to be just as dangerous as driving a car while intoxicated, according to statistics provided by Men's Health. Alcohol use is the number one cause of boating deaths, followed by operator inattention, operator inexperience, and excessive speed. Alcohol is involved in one of every five boating accidents and in almost half of all adult and adolescent deaths associated with water recreation. Alcohol use is the third highest cause of all boating injuries; operator inattention and excessive speed ranked first and second respectively.

Majority of Drownings Are Males

If you are a male boating enthusiast, there is even more reason to be concerned. Nearly 80 percent of people who die from drowning are male. Maybe you are not worried about the above because you are not a kid and you are an experienced boat operator. Think again. The highest death rates on the water belong to operators ages 36 to 55 with between 101 to 500 hours of boating experience.

Wear a Life Preserver

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one simple precaution could have prevented many of these deaths: wearing a life preserver. Nine out of 10 people who drowned in 2009 were not wearing life jackets. There is just no reason for not wearing a life vest today. The days of the bulky orange life preserver are long gone. Comfortable, Coast Guard-approved life jackets are now widely available.

Boating Safety Course

In addition to avoiding drinking and boating, the CDC also recommends taking a boating safety course. Almost 70 percent of all boating accidents are caused by operator error. Learning the rules for safe boat operation and the navigation rules for recreational boats can help you keep you and your passengers safe this summer. Finally, the CDC suggests checking to make sure your boat is in proper operating condition. Being stranded in a remote location and having to incur expensive towing bills is not necessary with a little advance planning. Vessel Safety Check (VSC) is a free service provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadron. More information can be found at www.vesselsafetycheck.org. Follow these recommendations, enjoy the boating season, and avoid becoming an unfortunate statistic this year.

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