16 fatal boating incidents in Wis. this year, DNR urges life jackets

Drowning is the leading cause of death in watercraft crashes.
(Source: Stock image/Pixabay)
(Source: Stock image/Pixabay)
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 4:04 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding the public that wearing life jackets can save lives.

Sixteen people have died in boating incidents so far this year in Wisconsin, according to the DNR. Last year, 22 people died in boating-related incidents. Nine people died in 2019.

“Wearing a life jacket is the easiest thing you can do to make sure that your next boating trip won’t be your last,” Lt. Darren Kuhn, DNR Boating Law Administrator, said. “Make sure you and all other passengers are wearing it with the buckles fastened before you cast off.”

Drowning is the leading cause of death in watercraft crashes. Operator inexperience, inattention, recklessness and speeding are other leading causes.

The majority of those who drown in boating accidents know how to swim; however, they become incapacitated in the water either due to being injured or unconscious, exhausted or weighed down by clothing, the DNR said.

The DNR offers these water safety tips:

  • Always wear a properly fitted life jacket that has a snug fit and is fastened when you’re on or near the water.
  • Enjoy the waters sober and know your limits. Alcohol blurs a person’s judgement, reaction time and abilities.
  • River shorelines and sandbars pose unseen dangers. Higher, fast-moving water can tax an individual’s boating, paddling and swimming skills.
  • Sign up now to take an online boater education course.

More boating safety tips are available on the DNR website.

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