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Boating accident deaths increase in New Jersey

Boating is a favorite summertime activity along New Jersey’s coast and on waterways throughout the country. As with any outdoor activity, the risk of suffering personal injuries in a boat accident is usually present, but boating fatalities declined nationwide last year to record lows. Unfortunately New Jersey’s boating safety record did not follow this national trend.

A report released by the U.S. Coast Guard indicates that boating accident deaths on New Jersey waters increased in 2010. Eight individuals died in boating accidents in New Jersey in 2010. Approximately 25 boaters died in New Jersey between 2006 and 2009. The number of boating accidents in 2010 was approximately 4,604 with 3,153 individuals sustaining personal injuries.

National boating fatalities fell to a record low of 672 last year beating 2004’s record of 676 deaths. Last year’s numbers are also 26 fatalities lower than the average rate for the past decade.

A spokesman from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 81 said that there are several ways that New Jersey boaters can prevent fatalities and personal injuries on the water.

“We have mandated boater safety courses and put a strong emphasis on life jackets,” he said, “Don’t operate under the influence and do boating safety and voluntary Coast Guard inspections.”

The contributing factors to boating accidents include operator inattention, inexperience, speeding, improperly scanning the waters for hazards, and alcohol use. Alcohol use was the largest contributing factor to boating accidents and alcohol was attributable to approximately 19 percent of New Jersey boating accidents.

Source: The Press of Atlantic City, “New Jersey boating fatalities up in 2010, defying national trend,” Richard Denger, 6/16/11

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