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Coast Guard Cracking Down on Boating Under the Influence as Fatalities Rise

The U.S. Coast Guard and its partner agencies in the northeast are launching a national campaign this Fourth of July weekend aimed at preventing boating accidents resulting from boating under the influence.

The campaign, which runs from July 2nd through 4th, comes amid a notable increase in boats on the water and a surge in boating fatalities during the pandemic as more people hit the water.

The Coast Guard this week released its 2020 Recreational Boating Statistics Report, revealing that there were 767 boating fatalities nationwide in 2020, a 25.1 percent increase from 2019. 

The report noted strong evidence that boating activity increased significantly during the pandemic, from reports of increase boat sales, insurance policies taken out, insurance claims, and calls for towing assistance. With more boaters on the water comes greater risk of deaths, injuries, and accidents. 

The report showed that alcohol continued to be the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents in 2020, accounting for over 100 deaths, or 18 percent of total fatalities. Boaters should never operate a vessel or paddle craft under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and should always wear a life jacket, the Coast Guard said.

As part of Operation Dry Water, the Coast Guard and partner agencies will have an increased presence on the water over the Fourth of July weekend to enforce boating laws and to ensure quick response in the event of maritime emergencies. 

The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of News2Sea.

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