© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Boating fatalities are up slightly this year. Here’s how you can stay safe.

Boats of all descriptions on the water at Mystic seaport. Mystic, Connecticut. 21st July 2013. Photo Tim Clayton (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
Tim Clayton - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images
Corbis Sport
With Connecticut on track to have a slightly higher-than-average number of boating fatalities this year, the U.S. Coast Guard is encouraging boaters to wear life jackets and take safety courses. Coast Guard boating safety specialist Walt Taylor says the majority of boating fatalities happen because passengers aren’t wearing a life jacket.

A boat accident near Portland, Conn., on Sunday that left one person dead is the sixth boating fatality in the state this year. The annual average number of boating fatalities in Connecticut is about six people, according to statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard. With the 2022 boating season only halfway through, the state is on track for slightly more boating fatalities than the yearly average.

“[In] 81% of the fatal boating accidents, a person drowned. And what’s the really telling number with that is that of the fatal accident victims that drowned, 83% were not wearing a life jacket,” said Walt Taylor, lead boating safety specialist for the Coast Guard’s northeast district. “You should always wear your life jacket, even if it’s not required by law.”

According to Taylor, alcohol is also a common contributing factor in boating accidents.

“Always boat sober,” he said. “If you’re going to have alcohol on the boat, have a sober operator that knows the rules of the road, knows how to operate the vessel, so everyone else on board is safe.”

Taylor also emphasized the importance of boating safety courses. To obtain a certificate to operate a boat in Connecticut, residents are required to take a safety course or pass a test with a score of 80% or higher.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.