According to the 2009 Recreational Boating Statistics report released today by the US Coast Guard’s Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety, fatal accidents for recreational boaters increased by 3.8 percent in 2009. The actual number of boating accidents decreased by 1.2 percent. Two of the more shocking statistics are the fact that nearly 75 percent of of the 736 deaths from boating accidents were as a result of drowning and 84 percent of those victims were not wearing a life preserver. The other shocking statistic is that 86 percent of boat operators involved in an accident had not received any boat safety instruction. According to Admiral Kevin Cook “the two most important things boaters can do to prevent the loss of life is to wear a life jacket and take a boater’s education course.” Would you ride in a car with someone that had never driven before. Better yet, how about fly with a pilot that has never soloed or taken flying lessons? I’m guessing MOST of you would say no. You can’t just park the boat when bad weather rolls in and wait for it to clear like parking on the side of the highway in your car. Also, if you haven’t noticed your boat or personal watercraft doesn’t have any brakes. Check into a local boat safety course and if you have any question about your own swimming ability or your passengers ability – please wear a life jacket. They are much more comfortable and less bulky than the old orange pull over your head life jackets our parents wore. Happy and Safe Boating!!