During this year's safe boating week, May 22-29, a major effort will be made to reduce boating accidents in Montana. Part of this effort is making people more aware of the risks associated with unsafe operation of boats. Consider the following:
* Seven of ten people who die in boating accidents drown. Drowning in Montana is usually related to hypothermia;
* Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in the U.S.;
* About two-thirds of all drowning victims were under 16 years of age;
* Nine of ten drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket;
* Two-thirds of drowning victims never intended to be in the water, and two thirds could not swim; non-swimmers usually go under in less than a minute;
* There is a water-related fatality for every 3,500 registered boats in Montana. This is five times the national average;
Montanans have a greater chance of dying while boating than while driving in a car.
Boaters can make their experience safe by observing a few common sense rules, including: always wear a life jacket; observe no-wake rules and boat at a reasonable speed; always be on the watch for other boaters and swimmers; don't mix alcohol and boating; review boating regulations before you go out; take an approved boating safety course.
For more information, or to inquire about boating safety courses, call FWP at 444-2615.