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Common causes for boating accidents

Due to Alaska's location and some of its largest industries, boating is not an uncommon way to get around and many residents own boats. However, some people mistakenly think that it's less dangerous than driving, or forget that boats are vehicles with the potential to crash like anything else on land or in the air.

Maritime law may differ from the laws that run land-based or air-based vehicles, but that doesn't mean there aren't rules to follow in order to maintain safety on the water for all. The U.S. Coast Guard published a report on recreational boating accidents that shed light on some of the most common causes. They point out that many boating accidents actually happen in fair weather and can often be attributed to swamping, capsizing, passengers falling overboard, or negligence on behalf of the driver. Negligence can include not paying attention to where they're going, drinking while boating, or not heeding safety precautions or weather conditions.

The American Boating Association also attributes many accidents the lack of proper safety protocol or a refusal to follow safety steps. This includes not having passengers wear life jackets, which is a major contributing factor in boating fatalities, as 83% of the drowning victims in 2016 were not wearing one.

Boating should be taken just as seriously as driving or flying an airplane. Even though the boater is on the water and sometimes in an open area, accidents can still happen, and they can still be deadly. Preventative measures and simply paying attention and following safety protocol can make all the difference.

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