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Boating deaths dipped to a record low in 2012

The Coast Guard says boating fatalities last year totaled 651, the lowest number on record.

In its 2012 Recreational Boating Statistics, the agency says the 651 deaths represent a decline of 14.1 percent from the 758 fatalities recorded in 2011.

There were 3,000 injuries last year, down 2.6 percent from 3,081 the previous year. The total number of reported recreational boating accidents dropped to 4,515, a decline of 1.6 percent from 4,588 in 2011.

The fatality rate of 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels reflected a 12.9 percent decrease from 2011’s rate of 6.2 deaths. Property damage totaled about $38 million.

“We’re very pleased that casualties are lower and thank our partners for their hard work over the past year,” Capt. Paul Thomas, director of inspections and compliance at Coast Guard headquarters, says in a statement. “We will continue to stress the importance of life jacket wear, boating education courses and sober boating.”

August 2013 issue