Northwest recreational boating fatalities increase over first half of 2008

SEATTLE (CG Public Affairs) – The 2008 boating season is still new but recreational boating fatalities have risen to nearly 18 percent higher than this time last year.

As of today, there have been 28 reported recreational boating fatalities in the four Pacific Northwest states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana compared to 23 fatalities by this time last year. What is even more alarming is that 22 of the 28 fatalities could have been prevented if only the persons involved would have been wearing a lifejacket.

Washington State leads with 12 fatalities, up from 11 this time last year. Of those 12, 11 persons were not wearing lifejackets. Though there are laws requiring children 12 years of age and under to wear lifejackets while on a boat two of the 12 fatalities were children.

Of the other three states, Oregon comes in second with eight fatalities, up two from this time last year, Montana with four, up two, and Idaho with four, even with the number of fatalities the previous year.

Alcohol has also played a key roll in recreational boating fatalities. Of the 28 fatalities, alcohol played a significant roll or was a primary cause in six of those deaths. Alcohol use effects those on the water greater that those who are not. Noise, irregular movement, glare and exposure to heat all cause fatigue and an increase in the effect of alcohol. This significantly reduces judgment and reaction time, proving that alcohol and boating do not mix. Nationally 21 percent of all fatal accidents involve alcohol.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Oregon State Marine Board, Washington State Parks, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks strongly urge all boaters to make risk prevention a part of their boating lifestyle. Wearing a lifejacket gives everyone the best chance of surviving a boating accident. Nationally less than nine percent of all adult boaters wear a lifejacket and in 90 percent of all recreational boating fatalities lifejackets were not worn.

Wearing lifejackets saves lives.

Early 2008 Pacific Northwest boating safety stats

  • Oregon: 8 total, 7 without lifejackets, 1 Alcohol related
  • Washington: 12 total, 11 witout lifejackets, 4 Alcohol related
  • Idaho: 4 total, 3 without lifejackets, 1 Alcohol related
  • Montana 4 total, 1 without lifejackets, 0 Alcohol related

Same period 2007 Pacific Northwest boating safety stats

  • Oregon: 6 total, 5 without lifejackets, 1 Alcohol related
  • Washington: 11 total, 9 witout lifejackets, 1 Alcohol related
  • Idaho: 4 total, 4 without lifejackets, 0 Alcohol related
  • Montana: 3 total, 1 without lifejackets, 0 Alcohol related

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