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Coast Guard urges boating caution

TICONDEROGA-Commander Eugene H. Frost of The Unites States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 15-13 in Crown Point is stressing safety as the local boating season begins.

"People need to be aware of some very sobering and surprising statistics," Frost said. "Most boaters are unaware that almost a quarter of boating fatalities are from non-motorized boats. In fact two thirds of boating accident deaths is from drowning and 90 percent of those who drown are not wearing a life jacket. Three out of four drowning fatalities were from vessels less than 21 feet long. One of the most alarming statistics is that 75 percent of canoe and kayak deaths occur when the boater is alone."

Coast Guard flotillas spend much of their time educating the public through their boating safely courses as well as vessel exams. Frost pointed out courtesy vessel exams for boats are available on request.

"We're here to let you know what you need to have on your boat in order to operate it safely," he said. "If it's not there, boaters need to know this and it's our focus to inform them. There are no penalties for failing a vessel exam. You receive only the knowledge necessary to prepare you for a safe boating experience. It is also the Coast Guard's desire to assist all paddle craft operators, canoes, kayaks and row boats in obtaining this same critical boating knowledge."

Only 14 percent of boating deaths occurred on vessels operated by people who had taken boating safety instructions, Frost noted

"We wish to have everyone take a boating safely course from one of our flotillas as the Coast Guard course is recognized in every state in our country," he said. "Finally, no one, no one should be out on the water without an approved life jacket in good repair. And finally, all operators of canoes, kayaks and other paddle craft should never operate alone."

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