Boating deaths down in Alaska, nationwide

Lt. Tom Pauser, with the 17th Coast Guard District’s prevention division, displays two life jackets while discussing their proper use with students at Hogarth Kingeekuk Sr. Memorial School April 10, 2012. The Coast Guard partnered with Alaska’s Office of Boating Safety to educate students in rural villages about cold-water safety. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Grant DeVuyst.

Lt. Tom Pauser, with the 17th Coast Guard District’s prevention division, displays two life jackets while discussing their proper use with students at Hogarth Kingeekuk Sr. Memorial School April 10, 2012. The Coast Guard partnered with Alaska’s Office of Boating Safety to educate students in rural villages about cold-water safety. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Grant DeVuyst.

The U.S. Coast Guard says boating fatalities are down in Alaska and nationwide.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports there were 560 boating deaths nationwide last year. The Coast Guard, in a report, says that’s the lowest number on record.

Alaska had 10 fatalities last year, which was the lowest number since 2009.

Nationwide, alcohol remains the leading factor in boating fatalities. The report says nearly 77 percent of all fatal boating accident victims drowned; of those, 84 percent were not wearing life jackets.

The Coast Guard says life jackets serve two purposes in Alaska, helping people stay afloat and insulating people from the frigid waters.

A Coast Guard official says out-of-state visitors are not usually familiar with how cold Alaska waters are, and not knowing that can be fatal.

Comments

comments