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Just how dangerous is boating?

An afternoon out on the boat sounds fun and relaxing, a perfect way to spend a summer day in Georgia. On the lake or the river, you can stop worrying about the pressures of life and just soak in the sun and the beautiful scenery.

At least, that's the hope. The reality is that boating carries a higher level of risk than many people realize. You need to know the risk before going out on the water.

For instance, the Coast Guard reported that there were 4,463 boating accidents in 2016. A total of 2,903 people were injured in those accidents, and 701 people were killed. Along with that, the accidents racked up an incredible $49 million in property damage.

To break things down a bit further, those 701 people who passed away mean that 5.9 people died for every 100,000 recreational vessels that are properly registered. The trends show that things are just getting worse. The rate was 5.3 fatalities for every 100,000 vessels in 2015. In just one year, the fatality rate went up by around 11.3 percent.

The total number of accidents was also up compared to 2015, but it only rose by 7.3 percent. Injuries were in keeping with fatality rates, going up by 11.1 percent. This shows that injuries and deaths are becoming more common faster than accidents, even though all of the stats are trending up and making the water a far more dangerous place to be.

If you lose a loved one in a fatal boating accident, make sure you know all of your potential rights to financial compensation for funeral costs, medical bills, lost wages and more.

Source: American Boating Association, "Boating Fatality Facts," accessed April 13, 2018

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