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Margaret Embry
Margaret Embry
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U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Tips and Statistics

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With summer fast approaching, the number of boaters on the water is sure to increase. To avoid serious injury while boating, it is important to understand the safety guidelines put in place by the United States Coast Guard to ensure a safe and fun boating trip.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, boaters’ reponsibilities to ensure boating safety include the following.

    • Make sure the boat is in top operating condition and that there are no tripping hazards. The boat should be free of fire hazards and have clean bilges

    • Safety equipment, required by law, is on board, maintained in good condition, and you know how to properly use these devices.

    • File a float plan with a relative or friend.

    • Have a complete knowledge of the operation and handling characteristics of your boat.

    • Know your position and know where you are going.

    • Maintain a safe speed at all times to avoid collision.

    • Keep an eye out for changing weather conditions, and act accordingly.

    • Know and practice the Rules of the Road (Navigation Rules).

    • Know and obey Federal and state regulations and waterway markers.

    • Maintain a clear, unobstructed view forward at all times. "Scan" the water back and forth; avoid "tunnel" vision. Most boating collisions are caused by inattention.

Using data from the U.S. Coast Guard, the top five primary accident types in 2007 are shown in the table below, along with rank, number of accidents, deaths, and injuries.

TOP FIVE PRIMARY ACCIDENT TYPES in 2007

Accident Rank

Accident Type

Accidents

Deaths

Injuries

1

Collision with Vessel

1,329

66

953

2

Collision w/ Fixed Object

558

35

389

3

Skier Mishap

492

11

502

4

Falls Overboard

485

208

312

5

Capsizing

398

204

284