Coast Guard reminds boaters of navigation rules following two collisions

SEATTLE – Two boaters have perished in the Seattle area from injuries sustained in boating accidents since Saturday.

Saturday night a speedboat and a sailboat collided on Lake Washington, here, killing a 37-year-old woman and injuring three others. Monday night two boats collided on Lake Tapps near Bonney Lake, Wash., killing one man and injuring seven. In both cases the boat’s speed was excessive for the conditions and there was a failure to maintain a proper lookout by the boat’s operators.

The Coast Guard, Washington State Parks Boating Program and local marine law enforcement officers want to remind boaters of a few dos and don’ts while operating their vessels:

– Do not consume alcohol and operate your vessel, 21% of all recreational boating fatalities are alcohol related.

– Do not operate your vessel at high rates of speed at night or in situations where visibility is limited. It is against the law to operate a vessel at a speed that can not allow you to take proper and effective action to avoid a collision and to be able to stop within a distance appropriate to the prevailing conditions. The steps to determining safe speed are: the current state of visibility plus traffic density plus maneuverability of the vessel, turning ability and stopping distance.

– It is very important that while boating at night you should have the proper navigational lights lit so that other vessels can see you. If you are operating at night, slow down and have others on the boat help keep an eye out for hazards. Post sufficient lookouts! Background lighting can make identification of another boat’s navigation lights confusing.

– The Coast Guard strongly encourages boat owners to enroll in some type of boating safety class:

– Everyone on board your boat should be wearing a Coast Guard approved lifejacket when underway.

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