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Heading out on the water this summer? Amica offers boating safety tips

07/20/2012

LINCOLN, RI – Boating is a favorite summer activity for young and old, whether motoring around a lake or sailing across the whitecaps in the ocean. But boating can also be dangerous – more than 750 people were killed and 3,000 were injured in boating accidents last year, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. That’s why Amica Insurance offers some suggestions to stay safe on the water this summer.

“Boats are fun, but they are also a tremendous responsibility,” said Lisa St. Onge, an assistant vice president with Amica Insurance. “It’s important to know how to operate a boat safely and to know the rules of the waterways to help protect everyone.”

Operator error is the main cause of boating accidents, according to Coast Guard statistics, which show that operator error was the cause of 70 percent of the 4,500 boating accidents reported last year. Alcohol is another contributing factor, cited in nearly one third of all boating deaths reported last year.

“It’s important to operate a boat responsibly,” St. Onge said. “Everyone’s safety depends on it.”

The Coast Guard offers these important safety tips and reminders:

  • Keep a first-aid kit, flares and a Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher onboard.
  • Make sure children under 13 wear properly-fitting life jackets.
  • Only allow experienced drivers to operate the boat.
  • Always tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
  • Avoid boating in extreme weather and bring a radio to monitor weather conditions.
  • Make sure passengers keep their feet and legs inside the boat at all times.

Boaters also should establish a “hazard zone” that includes all areas of the boat, plus the water 30 feet around it. The Coast Guard recommends that passengers – especially children – avoid being in the water in this area unless the operator has turned off the boat and removed the keys.

“If you own a boat, it is important to educate yourself about boating safety to protect your passengers and fellow boaters,” said St. Onge. “Be prepared for the unexpected, and have a fun, safe summer on the water.”

The U.S. Coast Guard, Power Squadron and other organizations offer boating safety courses. For more information, visit http://www.uscgboating.org.

About Amica

Amica Mutual Insurance Company, the nation's oldest mutual insurer of automobiles, was founded in 1907. The company, with corporate headquarters in Lincoln, RI, is a national writer of automobile, homeowners, marine and personal umbrella liability insurance. Life coverage is available through Amica Life Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary. Amica employs more than 3,100 people in 40 offices across the country.

CONTACT:Vince Burks, Corporate Communications, 50 Amica Way,

Lincoln, RI 02865-1155, 800-652-6422, ext. 24563

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