Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Fins Up, Deaths Up

It's shark week on the Discovery Channel, there are an unusual amount of great whites along the coast of Cape Cod, and Jimmy Buffett is in the middle of his summer tour. But instead of saying "fins up" this week, a new Coast Guard report has us saying "deaths up".

The United States Coast Guard Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety released statistics from the 2009 boating season, and the report shows that boating deaths were up by more than 3% over the previous year.

And as scary as sharks are to many boaters, it's the more mundane things like not wearing a life jacket that kill the most boaters according to the USCG. In fact, Rear Adm. Kevin Cook, the Coast Guard's director of prevention policy, sums up why boaters should always wear a life jacket: "Nearly 75 percent of the 736 people who died in boating accidents in 2009 drowned, and 84 percent of those victims reportedly were not wearing a life jacket." This is why "wear a life jacket" is the number one tip on the FirstBoat boating safety page.

Alan Sorum has a nice summary of the report on his boating blog so you don't have download a 78 page PDF from the Coast Guard site (the full PDF is available here). If you're still not interested in wearing a life jacket while boating after reading this report, maybe you should just stay home and watch shark week.

###