Boating deaths drop in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. – The number of boating deaths and accidents in Michigan dropped in 2004, according to a report from the Michigan Association of Insurance Agents, cited the Lansing State Journal in a story today.

There were 170 reported boating accidents statewide last year – down 25 percent from 2003 – and 26 deaths were reported in 2004, down from 29 in 2003, the newspaper stated.

The report listed Michigan’s boating fatalities for the last seven years, with 2004 showing the lowest number of deaths in the state since 1998.

1998 – 25
1999 – 28
2000 – 32
2001 – 28
2002 – 38
2003 – 29
2004 – 26

Michigan’s safety record would be even better if more people used life jackets, Gary Mitchell, spokesman for the insurance group, told the newspaper. Of the 26 people who died in boating accidents last year, eight were wearing life jackets, the State Journal reported.

Suzy Carter, executive director of the Lansing Area Safety Council, told the newspaper that the drop in accidents and deaths is good news, but more work needs to be done.

“It’s still too early to tell if we’ve learned a lesson,” Carter said. “We need to prove it’s not just a glitch in the stats.”

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