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Staying safe offshore

Foundation: Boating numbers up and safety incidents down, experts cite education as key

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Boats are pictured over Labor Day weekend at Mase’s In-Towne Marina in Waconia. (Al Lohman/The Patriot)

The Water Sports Foundation (WSF) recently released a report that indicates despite near historic increases in first-time boat ownership and registration, there have been decreases nationwide on order of 14-17 percent in boating fatalities, injuries and incidents according to U.S. Coast Guard 2021 recreational boating statistics.

The educational foundation indicates that increased enrollment in boating safety courses nationwide may have played a significant role in the improvements. The overwhelming majority of fatalities, some 75 percent, occurred on boats where the operator had not received boating safety instruction. Operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure and excessive speed ranked as the top five primary contributing factors in all incidents.

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