Recreational boating deaths have fallen

According to its recently-released report, the U.S. Coast Guard found that national boating deaths fell to the third lowest number on record. The fatal boating accident report is still sobering, however, because there were 626 boating fatalities last year -- a 2.6 percent increase from the 610 deaths in 2014.

Connecticut suffered six boating deaths in 2015, which was a small increase from the five fatalities reported in 2014. However, accidents in the state rose from 40 in 2014 to 58 in 2015.

The Coast Guard made other key findings in its report. There was a 2.4 percent decrease in injuries from 2014 through 2015.

In 2015, twenty-two children under 13 years of age died in boating accidents. Twelve of these victims drowned. Five of these drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket and the accidents took place in states that did not impose this requirement.

Where the cause of death was determined, the victims drowned in 76 percent of fatal boating accidents. Seventy-one percent of fatalities involved vessels where the operator received inadequate boating instruction in cases where the amount of instruction was known.

Alcohol was the leading contributing element in fatal boating accidents and was responsible for 17 percent of fatalities. The other five leading factors were operator inattention and inexperience, improper lookout, failure of machinery and speeding.

Reported accidents normally included open motorboats, personal watercraft and cabin motorboats. The total property damage was $42 million.

Boating operators owe a duty of care to their passengers and other boaters. A wrongful death action may be warranted if an operator is negligent, intoxicated or fails to take safety precautions such as receiving instruction or providing life jackets to passengers. Families who suffer the loss of loved one in these accidents should seek prompt legal assistance to protect their right to compensation.

Source: U.S. Coast Guard, "U.S. Coast Guard releases 2015 recreational boating statistics report," Accessed May 23, 2016

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