KETCHIKAN, Alaska — A report by the U.S. Coast Guard shows that fatal recreational-boating accidents in Alaska have doubled over the last year.
There were 14 fatal boating wrecks that killed 19 people in Alaska in 2016, the Ketchikan Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/2reT34E). That’s seven more boating accidents and 12 more fatalities than reported in the state in 2015.
Four of the fatal 2016 accidents took place in southeast Alaska, the Alaska Public Information Office said.
The number of recreational-boating accidents has increased nationwide over the past year, according to the Coast Guard’s “2016 Recreational Boating Statistics” report.
Overall, there were 701 recreational-boating related deaths in the country in 2016, compared to the 626 deaths in 2015 and 610 deaths in 2014. The report found that the 2016 accidents caused $49 million in property damage.
Other states with a high number of boating-related fatalities include Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Massachusetts and Hawaii.
Alcohol was the leading known contributing factor of the accidents across the United States, the report stated.
Coast Guard officials said boating-safety classes and vessel-safety checks resources are available.
“One person lost or injured to a preventable boating accident is one too many, so we encourage the boating public to use these educational resources as a means to prevent accidents,” said Capt. Scott Johnson, chief of the Coast Guard Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety.
Information from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.ketchikandailynews.com