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Staying safe on the water July 4th weekend amid the coronavirus pandemic

(WPMI) Staying safe on the water July 4th weekend amid the coronavirus pandemic
(WPMI){ }Staying safe on the water July 4th weekend amid the coronavirus pandemic

As we approach the Fourth of July weekend, we know more boaters will be out on the waters.

Unfortunately, as many celebrate the holiday alcohol mixed with boating means an increased risk of accidents.

The Coast Guard always ramps up its national Operation Dry Water enforcement to make sure boaters aren't impaired. They work with state and local municipalities.

The Coast Guard wants boat operators to abstain from alcohol.

In fact, according to statistics from the Coast Guard, the number of boating accidents each year is on the rise from 79 in 2015 to 101 in 2019.

Fatal accidents also climbed from 17 in 2015 to 25 in 2019. The number of deaths jumped from 21 in 2015 to 28 in 2019.

We don't know if these statistics are alcohol-related, but the Coast Guard says alcohol is sometimes a contributing factor.

"About 30 percent of all boating-related accidents have alcohol as a contributing factor," said USCG Boating Safety Manager Paul Banard. "So when we can take that out of the picture and we can get our boat operators in a life jacket, we solved well in excess of half of our problems with boating related fatalities with those two measures."

The Coast Guard says boaters must stay sober to keep their passengers and others safe. They also say the same social distancing measures apply out on the water as they do on land amid the coronavirus pandemic.