Northeastern Coast Guard promotes safety after recreational boat deaths increase

Police Rescue Boat (Photo: Shutterstock)

(WTNH) — The Northeast Coast Guard starts the 2017 boating season with a warning for everyone to be safe while on the water this summer. The warning comes from the records of recreational boating deaths in New England increasing by 62 percent, according to the U.S. Coast Guard First District Northeast.

May 21-26 marked the informal beginning of summer and the start of National Safe Boating Week where Coast Guard crews throughout the northeast patrolled while paying close attention to recreational paddlecraft and boating safety. The Coast Guard also promoted safe boating and paddling practices.

“With all the rainy weather and the water temperatures across New England still 60 and below, now is the time to prepare for the nice summer weather,” said Walt Taylor, recreational boating safety coordinator for the First Coast Guard District. “For example, ensure your inflatable life jackets function properly, flares and fire extinguishers are not past expiration dates, and strobe lights, personal locating beacons, and handheld VHF radios have fresh batteries.”

The First Coast Guard District would like boaters to be aware of important safety measures that include:

Boat and paddle sober.

Always have a marine VHF radio on your boat, along with an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon) or PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) in case of emergency. Cell phones may not be dependable while out on the water.

Be sure you are not operating a boat or paddlecraft beyond your level of knowledge and handling skill.

Take a boating safety course or get a free safety check from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, http://www.cgaux.org/boatinged/.

Recreational boating deaths increased from 34 in 2015 to 55 in 2016 in the northeast while boating fatalities nationwide totaled 701 This represented an 11.3 percent increase from last year’s 626, according to the 2016 Recreational Boating Statistics report released on Wednesday.

To view the 2016 Recreational Boating Statistics, go to http://uscgboating.org/statistics/accident_statistics.php.

For more information on boating responsibly, go to http://www.uscgboating.org/.

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