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Two Massachusetts residents killed in boating accident

Two Massachusetts women are being remembered by friends and family after a fatal boating accident in Narragansett Bay, South Coast Today reported.

The women, both 23, were residents of Dighton and Assonet. They were killed last weekend when their boat crashed into Despair Island off the coast of Rhode Island. Relatives said the two women were thrown from the 22-foot recreational vessel when it crashed. Three other boat occupants were treated at local hospitals.

Rescue workers from the Warwick Fire Department found the overturned boat about 2:45 a.m. Cause of the accident is under investigation by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office.

Relatives and authorities believe the vessel hit the small 20-foot by 40-foot rock island at full speed. The vessel’s owner told authorities two men employed as mechanics had taken the boat out without permission.

Boat Massachusetts offers a wealth of safety information and officials are encouraging everyone to review safe boating practices and to practice safe and responsible boating as the summer boating season gets underway.

The Massachusetts Marine Trades Association reports about 5 million Massachusetts residents — or three-quarters of the state’s population — live within 10 miles of the ocean. More than 186,000 boats are registered with the Coast Guard in Massachusetts.