most coastline in the United States,
Alaska has no
shortage of water activities. But being on the water does bring risks, and even
death, if you aren’t well prepared. Mary Donaldson has this report.
Recreational boating in Alaska brings fun for
many, though it doesn’t come without danger. Statistically, there are about 19
fatalities annually, says Mike Folkerts, the recreational boating safety
specialist for the Coast Guard in Juneau.
He says it doesn’t sound like much, but those statistics rise far above the number
of fatalities in one of Alaska’s
most dangerous industries.
(Folkerts 1 :19s “…by quite a ways.”)
says nine people have already died this year on the water, with two of those
deaths being involved with what he calls paddlecrafts, or canoes and kayaks.
resident Hal Long has been kayaking around the island for over 20 years, and
has been teaching kayaking safety classes since about 2002. He says he teaches
self and assisted rescues, which are essential for kayaking safety.
(Long 1 :39s “…change of clothes right there.”)
gives tips on what type of clothing is appropriate for kayaking. Long says
(Long 2 :26s “…or layer down.”)
Long says another key is communication: let a
friend or family member know when to expect you back from your trip.
(Long 3 :17s “…you’re off the water.”)
says that the most important thing you can do to stay safe on the water is to
always wear a personal floatation device.
(Folkerts 2 :28s “…thing you can do.”)
there were 17 recreational boating fatalities in Alaska, with 7 of those deaths involving
paddlecraft. Recreational boating fatalities have increased nationwide from 99
deaths in 2006, to 107 in 2007. Long teaches kayaking safety classes every
April with each class having four sessions.