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Coast Guard urges boater safety

The Coast Guard stayed busy during the start of National Safe Boating Week, working together with good Samaritans along the Texas coast responding to multiple mariners in distress.

A crewmember aboard a commercial fishing boat died after falling overboard; a 36-foot sailboat began taking on water; a 16-foot center console lost power and drifted toward the Houston Ship Channel; and an overturned 21-foot sailboat with two people standing on the hull were among the cases.

From 2012 to 2013, deaths in boating-related accidents decreased 14 percent, from 651 to 560, and injuries decreased from 3,000 to 2,620, a 12.7 percent reduction.

The total reported recreational boating accidents decreased from 4,515 to 4,062, a 10 percent decrease. 

The fatality rate for 2013 of 4.7 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels reflected a 13 percent decrease from the previous year's rate of 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.

Property damage totaled approximately $39 million. Where the cause of death was known, 77 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those drowning victims, 84 percent were reported as not wearing a life jacket.

"As the peak of boating season is upon us we cannot stress boating safety enough," said Petty Officer 1st Class John Schroeder, an operations specialist at Sector Houston-Galveston. "Wear a life jacket, they can save your life. Always be aware of your surroundings while on the water and don't hesitate to call your local Coast Guard if you're in need of immediate assistance. We want boaters to enjoy themselves, but to do it in a safe manner."

For more on National Safe Boating Week, visit