Boating deaths on the rise in Great Lakes states - WNEM TV 5

Boating deaths on the rise in Great Lakes states

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A 38-foot pleasure craft sits atop of the east breakwall inside Conneaut Harbor, Conneaut, Ohio, July 23, 2014. The responsible party has established a salvage plan. (U.S. Coast Guard photo) A 38-foot pleasure craft sits atop of the east breakwall inside Conneaut Harbor, Conneaut, Ohio, July 23, 2014. The responsible party has established a salvage plan. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
MICHIGAN, (WNEM) -

Boating deaths are on the rise in the Great Lakes states, and authorities say many of them can be avoided. 

The U.S. Coast Guard released its 2016 Recreational Boating Statistics Report Wednesday, revealing their were 701 boating fatalities nationwide last year, a 12 percent increase from 2015.

Michigan had 125 reported boating accidents with 38 fatalities and 65 injured people.

Paddlecraft, including canoes, kayaks, and stand-up-paddleboards accounted for 24 percent of the lives lost. Open motorboats counted for 47 percent of deaths. Eighty percent of boating accident victims drowned and of those, 83 percent were not wearing a life jacket.

“In regards to the primary contributing factors of boating accidents, six of the top 10 are directly related to the behavior or actions of the operator,” said Mike Baron, the recreational boating safety specialist for the Ninth Coast Guard District. “It’s the operator’s responsibility to always practice good risk management and provide for the safety of passengers and safety of fellow boaters.”

Officials said inexperience, speed, distracted driving, machinery failure and improper lookout were the top five factors contributing to accidents. 

“By an operator’s practicing proper safety, paying attention to their surroundings, practicing good seamanship, and boating education, many of these accidents could be prevented,” Baron said.

The Coast Guard reminds all boaters to boat responsibly while on the water: wear a life jacket, take a boating safety course, attach your engine cut-off switch, get a free vessel safety check and avoid alcohol or other impairing substance consumption.

To see the full report, click here

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