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DNR: Boating-related Deaths Up Significantly this Year

MADISON, Wis. (CHANNEL 3000) -

There have been a dozen more boating-related deaths this year in Wisconsin than during the same period of time in 2015, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Last year in Wisconsin there were 21 boating-related deaths in the state, only one of which occurred before Memorial Day.

This year, as the Memorial Day weekend approaches, the state has already seen 13 boating-related deaths, according the DNR.

“This year we are up to 13 incidents and, obviously, we look at 85 percent of those were not wearing life jackets and that is a concern when that is such a critical tool that can save a life,” said April Dombrowski, recreation enforcement, education and safety section chief for the DNR.

To address the need for boater safety and life jackets, the state will continue the Kids Don’t Float program this year.

“We have various locations across the state where, if you forgot your life jacket, here’s a life jacket for you and just return it when you’re done with your boating activity for the day,” Dombrowski said.

One flotation device is required to be available for everyone on a boat, but Dombrowski believes wearing a life jacket is important.

“They need to not only be available, but wear it, because when something goes wrong it goes wrong really fast,” Dombrowski said.

For more information about boating safety and life jacket requirements, visit the DNR’s website.

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