ST. GEORGE — Boating season is here, and with the fun in the sun comes the dangers present when venturing out onto the water.
Within the last month, Utah has seen an increase in boating-related incidents. To help combat this, the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation has announced the #NobodyIsInvincible safety campaign.
While summer weather may have just begun, Utah has already experienced six boating-related fatalities this year. That number is two-thirds of last year’s total. This large of a number so soon into the boating season is concerning to officials, the Division of Parks and Recreation said in a press release.
“When thinking of the scene of a boating accident, the image brought to mind is often one of dark skies, big boats and high waves. This is not the case,” the division said. “The majority of boating fatalities take place on smaller sized boats under 21 feet, with light wind, and on waves smaller than two feet. Quite the contrary to what boaters often consider hazardous.”
Regardless of the weather conditions or boat size, 80% of Utah’s boating-related fatalities involve people not wearing life jackets. While the law may only require boaters to have a life jacket available, having one properly fastened is essential. The goal of the Nobody is Invincible campaign is to raise awareness about the importance of wearing a life jacket at all times.
The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation reminds boaters of the following fatality statistics:
- The largest percentage of Utah fatalities come from open motorboats 21 feet or less in length.
- More than 50% of national boating fatalities occur on lakes and reservoirs.
- 75% of drownings occurred on waters with wave heights less than 2 feet.
- When wind conditions are known, 61% of these fatalities occurred with wind conditions described as none or light.
- When visibility was known, 73% of national drownings occurred under conditions described as “good visibility.”
According to the division, disaster can strike when least expected, so boaters are encouraged to be prepared for anything.