Boating Deaths Declined in ’07
On the eve of National Safe Boating Week, the U.S. Coast Guard revealed some good news — deaths from recreational boating accidents fell to their lowest number since 2004. In total, 688 people lost their lives in 2007, down from 710 in 2006.
While deaths were on the decline, injuries, number of accidents and property damage were on the rise. Operator inattention, careless operation, passenger/skier behavior, excessive speed and alcohol use are the top five contributing factors. Alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal accidents. Three-fourths of the deaths occurred on boats where the operator had no boating safety instruction. More than two-thirds of the fatalities were from drownings and 90 percent of those weren’t wearing life jackets.
The Personal Watercraft Industry Association, which analyzed the Coast Guard data, reported accidents involving PWC have declined 31 percent over a five-year period.
Doo’in it on the Today Show
More positive press for PWC?thanks to NBC’s Today. Viewers of the May 15 broadcast were treated to weatherman Al Roker tooling around a Universal Studios Florida lagoon aboard a Sea-Doo RXT-X. Things got really interesting when Roker was carving up the water within inches of the seawall, before yelling that the throttle was stuck. He then proceeded to guide the powerful ‘Doo over a water ski jump, before taking a tumble from the ski. Former Sea World stunt pro, and current WaterTop Unlimited head Tim McKercher was actually at the helm during the high-profile stunt. Roker and McKercher slyly switched places as Roker passed under a bridge across the lagoon. McKercher then proceeded to put on a show, before cameras cut back to Roker in the water. psb