Officials from the Coast Guard are making efforts to push safer boating behaviors in response to nine deaths in the Mid-Atlantic region within the last two weeks.
According to the Coast Guard, the most recent deaths happened as a result of a capsized pleasure craft near the Ocean City Inlet in Ocean City, Maryland on Saturday, June 11, 2011. Before this, were other deaths, including a drowning which occurred on May 30, when a 42 year old man leapt from a sailboat in the James River in Virginia. He was not wearing a lifejacket. Similarly, in the Rappahannok River in Virginia, two more people died when their speedboat hit a seawall.
A Coast Guard recreational boating safety specialist in the 5th District, Dennis Sens, has stated that swimming and boating in tidal waters is linked to an increased risk, and it is important for users of these waters to understand what is required to do so safely.
There has been a notable problem recognized in the safety behaviors of boaters this season. The Coast Guard in coastal South Jersey noted many dangerous activities among boaters. Among the more frequently witnessed were:
• Passengers who sit on the bow of their boats and let their legs dangle while the vehicle is in motion,
• Adults and children without an available life jacket on the boat, large boats travelling rapidly and sending sizeable wakes in no-wake zones,
• Large boats speeding past smaller boats and leaving big wakes that rocked the smaller craft,
• Boats travelling dangerously close to swimmers.
By this point in 2010, there had been three fewer deaths linked to boating. In fact, last year saw record lows in boating-related deaths. The U.S. Coast Guard is hoping that this year’s trends will soon be controlled and reduced.