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Massachusetts boating accidents near record highs as Memorial Day signals start of boating season

This week is National Boating Safety week and an unusually high number of serious and fatal Massachusetts boating accidents have safety advocates preaching caution as the boating season begins in earnest with the Memorial Day weekend.

The Daily Item reports the area has already seen a record number of boating deaths so far in 2010 — a total of 21 people have already died in boating accidents off the coast of Massachusetts.
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“Sadly, during the last decade on the waters of the Northeast, we’ve averaged 50-53 boating and paddling fatalities per year,” said Al Johnson, a recreational boating safety specialist for the First Coast Guard District in Boston.

As we reported recently on our Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, two Boston women were killed last week in a boating accident in Narragansett Bay.

A total of 55 fatal Massachusetts boating accidents occurred in 2008, while 58 occurred in 2007, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Safe Boating Council offers the following safety tips:

-Boat Responsibly and Wear It: Always remain alert and careful while boating and always wear your life jacket. About 90 percent of those who drown were not wearing a life vest.

-Know the Navigation Rules: You wouldn’t drive a car without understanding the rules of the road. So don’t drive a boat without learning the rules that can help keep you safe on the water. Understanding the rules for meeting, crossing or overtaking another boat can help keep you and your passengers safe. Maintain a proper lookout and a safe speed.

-Boat Sober:
The same rules for driving a car while intoxicated, apply to piloting a boat. Operating a boat while intoxicated is illegal in all 50 states and is also a violation of federal law. An intoxicated boater is 10 times more likely to die in a boating accident.

-Be Aware of Carbon Monoxide: Engines produce carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. Proper cabin ventilation and well-maintained equipment is critical.

-Take a Boater Safety Course: Seventy percent of boating accidents are caused by operator errors, including inattention, carelessness, recklessness, inexperience, speeding and failure to watch for hazards. A boater safety course is essential to learning the rules on the water that can help keep you safe.

-Get Your Boat Checked: A well-maintained and properly equipped vessel is a safer boat for all who board.

The Massachusetts Environmental Police’s Boat and Recreation Vehicle Safety Bureau offers answers to frequently asked boating safety questions.

If you have been injured in a Massachusetts boat accident or and accident on the water, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333