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Boating accidents are declining in Michigan

In the summer months, many Michigan residents take to the lakes for boating, swimming, jet-skiing and other water activities. Michigan is a great state for such recreation, however, when people are irresponsible these fun activities can lead to terrible accidents. A report that was recently issued by the U.S. Coast Guard does show that the number of boating accidents in Michigan is actually decreasing.

In 2012, there were 103 boating accidents in Michigan; in 2011, there were 129 and in 2010, there were 132. It is great to see these numbers shrink year after year, but these numbers still point to boating injuries and fatalities that may well have been avoidable.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has stated that 90 percent of those who drown could have been saved if they were wearing a life jacket at the time of the boating accident. So, Michigan residents should always ensure that they are wearing a life vessel when out on the waters.

Additionally, a number of boating accidents are caused by drunk boat operators, or distracted boat operators. It is critical that boat operators and passengers avoid alcohol and that operators avoid distraction.

Many boaters in Michigan and the country have heeded such warnings, as the boat accident statistics indicate. The U.S. Coast Guard's report shows that boating accidents as well as boating fatalities have been on the decline nationwide for the previous five years. Fatal boating accidents are down 14.1 percent, according to the report.

Boaters should be aware that they do have legal responsibilities to practice safe boating. When people are injured in a boating accident, they may be able to hold any negligent party accountable with a personal injury claim.

Source: Michigan State University Extension, "Michigan Safe and Clean Boating: Boating Accidents down in Michigan and across the U.S.," Josh Gunn, July 9, 2013

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