Drastic increase in boating deaths in New England leads to Coast Guard warnings
BOSTON — As the 2017 boating season kicks off, the Northeast Coast Guard published a warning for all boaters about staying safe this summer.
For the Coast Guard, summer began between May 21 and 26, the official National Safe Boating Week, which means they will be on patrol in the Northeast promoting safe boating practices.
The Northeast Coast Guard will be extra careful this year about safe practices because according to Wednesday's 2016 Recreational Boating Statistics report, recreational boating deaths increased from 34 in 2015 to 55 in 2016.
According to the report, 45 of the 55 people who died were not wearing a life jacket.
Walt Taylor, recreational boating safety coordinator for the First Coast Guard District, said, "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."
Taylor also described some of the basic safety measures boaters should take.
"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."
Additional life-saving measures listed by the Coast Guard included boating and paddling while sober, understanding the boat or paddle-craft being operated, and having a marine VHF radio on your boat.
For more information on boating safely and responsibly, visit the US Coast Guard website here.