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Boating safety in Kentucky

Although summer is coming to a close, boating season is still in full swing in Kentucky. The Bluegrass state is home to many popular boating activities, and visitors and natives alike trek to its beautiful state parks all year. Yet boating is also a common cause of tragic accidents, typically arising from operating malfunctions, wrecks and propeller collisions. Although some accidents are inevitable, various organizations and official wildlife and safety departments offer resources to educate the public of proper safety procedures regarding boating.

The University of Kentucky's Health Care Department released an article on the importance of boating safety in the state. The article shows that in 2009 alone, 18 children under age 13 died in boating-related accidents -- half of those accidents were by drowning. And while life jackets are a commonly provided safety item, they are also largely ignored and underestimated when out on the water. Health experts in Kentucky encourage the public to look for U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets, and point out that water wings and inner tubes simply do not prevent drowning. They also stress the importance of enforcing children under 14 to wear life jackets even when standing near open bodies of water. The Health Department refers to National Safe Boating Week, an annual educational campaign coordinated by the National Safe Boating Council, as an ideal source from which families can gather important safety information.

Because boating accidents are more common than one might initially assume, there exist numerous safety resources regarding the outdoor sport. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources also provides safety procedures to follow in the case of a boating emergency. The safety resource notes that all operators of vessels are required by law to file a formal, written report of any boating accident with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife under certain circumstances. Such circumstances include damage over $500 by or to the vessel or its equipment, serious injury or loss of life and the disappearance of any person on board a vessel.  


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