Boating Deaths on the Rise

May 28, 2007--Posted at 7:45 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR--Arkansas has recorded more boating-related deaths so far this year than in all of 2006. Boating Education Coordinator Bob Cushing of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says some of the boating accidents have been related to weather, but usually they occur when people aren't being careful enough.

Nine people have died so far this year in boating accidents. The total was eight for the entire year last year. Officials don't know why the fatality figure is up. In prior years, the number of deaths in boating-related accidents ranged from six to 13.

Boaters must carry personal flotation devices for each person on board, and children 12 or younger must wear a life jacket while on a boat. Anyone, regardless of age, can operate a boat, but state law requires boaters born after 1985 to complete a boating education course before operating a boat.