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Are boating accidents common in the United States?

You love heading out on the water. You have fun with your family and enjoy the sun and heat of a Rhode Island summer. One thing that you're concerned over is the potential for a boating accident.

It's true that boating accidents can easily cause harm to those riding on the vessel, so it's important to take safety measures into your own hands. Always be aware of where you're headed and the weather conditions. Make sure to avoid alcohol and to stay hydrated when you're on the water.

In 2015, the United States Coast Guard reported that there were 4,158 recreational boating accidents that took place. In total, 626 people died in those accidents, and another 2,613 people were injured.

For every 100,000 registered recreational vessels, 5.3 people were killed that year. That's actually an increase in the total number of fatalities from the year before, which is not a good sign for boaters.

Why did most victims pass away? It was a result of failing to wear a life jacket. In drowning incidents, approximately 85 percent of people had not been wearing life jackets at the time of death.

Additionally, the amount of education the driver has matters. In 71 percent of accidents involving deaths, the driver hadn't gone through boating safety instruction.

If you're hit by someone on the water, it's important to know that you have rights. Even boating accidents can result in a claim, so you should always file a report with the police or local authorities. Your attorney can help you seek an appropriate settlement after your accident.

Source: USCGBoating.org, "2015 Recreational Boating Statistics," accessed April 18, 2017

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