SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon has recorded 22 deaths involving boats this year, the most since 1993 and nearing the record of 25.
The Statesman-Journal reports that August was a particularly bad month, with eight fatal accidents; the most recent came last weekend when a man charged with boating under the influence slammed into a 13-year-old swimmer at Henry Hagg Lake.
The numbers include both motorized and non-motorized boats, such as kayaks, but don’t include fatal accidents using inner tubes or swimming, though both are also higher than normal this summer, said Randy Henry, boating safety program manager for the Oregon State Marine Board.
The spike is another result of the record number of people outdoors in a summer when COVID-19 has limited most other options. It has also meant more first-time boaters, Henry said, and a lot of inexperience on the water.
“It’s partly the law of large numbers,” Henry said. “Lots of participation this year, which also means lots of novices. Motorized registrations are up as well and as noted earlier, we seem to be seeing a lot of boats coming out of retirement.”