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One fatality in California boating accident, part two

Earlier this week, we wrote about a tragic boat crash in Dana Point Harbor over Memorial weekend. The boating accident took the life of one boat passenger and injured three others when the 30-foot boat became pinned against the rocks and all four were swept overboard.

None of the four passengers was wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident, which the Coast Guard and local California law enforcement has used to remind local residents of the state laws surrounding the flotation devices. According to authorities, drowning is the cause of death in approximately 80 percent of all local boating fatalities, and over 90 percent of those drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket at the time of the crash.

State law requires all boats, regardless of the size, to have one Coast Guard-approved and properly sized personal flotation device (PFD) for every person on board. Sizing is based on the passenger's body weight and chest size. Passengers aged 16 and older may use inflatable PFDs if they are able to be activated by both pull and oral inflation. All PFDs must be easily accessible and in usable condition.

In addition, children under the age of 13 are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved PFD in any boat that is 26 or fewer feet long. PFDs are also universally required among all person who is on board a personal water vehicle or who is being towed behind a boat.

Although there is clearly no one to blame when a boat trip goes terribly wrong, as in Dana Point last weekend, there are steps that boaters can take to protect themselves if the worst should happen.

Source: Patch, "One Dead, Three Rescued In Dana Point After Memorial Day Weekend Boating Accident," 2 June 2011

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