Canoes and Kayaks Represent Over 15% Of Boating Fatalities

LOS ANGELES, Calif (AUX Public Affairs) – In a year where overall recreational boating fatalities decreased from 710 in 2006 to 685 in 2007 the number of fatalities associated with the use of canoes/kayaks increased to 107 in 2007 as compared with 99 in 2006. This is according to statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety. This figure represents about 15.6 percent of the total of all recreational fatalities in the U.S. in 2007. Of the 107 fatalities associated with kayaking/canoeing 97 were from drowning (66 canoe/ 31 kayak.) The complete 2007 Recreational Boating Statistics are available at http://www.uscgboating.org/statistics/accident_stats.htm.

A recent study by the Outdoor Industry Foundation has shown a dramatic increase in the number of Americans participating in kayaking, a 23% increase in 2005 alone. As the number of people turning to kayaking/canoeing (especially with rising fuel cost), so does the risk for kayak and canoe operators getting themselves into trouble.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the American Canoe Association offers some basic safety tips:

· Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket.

· Be comfortable in the water, out of your boat.

· Obtain the knowledge, skills and ability necessary for kayaking and canoeing.

· Always boat with a group. Three boats is a recommended minimum.

· Know how to self-rescue. Practice! Practice! Practice!

· File a float plan, with friends,,family, or the authorities.

· Bring appropriate safety, rescue, and navigational aids, and more than adequate food, water, and extra protective clothing. Do not wear cotton!

· Pick an activity level that matches your ability, and progress to more demanding challenges.

· Monitor your physical and emotional condition, and watch the other members or your group for fatigue, illness, and changes in behavior.

· Know and follow all local, state and federal laws.

· Be visible – wear bright colors so others can see you between waves or in the fog. Carry a bright light, flares, and whistle to signal your position.

· Take a boating safety class offered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the United States Coast Guard. Created by an Act of Congress in 1939, the Auxiliary directly supports the Coast Guard in all missions, except military and direct law enforcement actions. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is an integral part of the United States Coast Guard. For more information visit www.cgaux.org if you are ready to be join visit http://join.cgaux.org/ .

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