National AP News | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Boating Safety

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Florida leads the nation in boating
accidents and deaths, and state officials say they're desperately
looking for a solution.

One idea is getting their attention now because it's proving
successful in other states.

The idea would force every boater in the state of Florida to
take a safety course. Currently, that requirement applies only to
boaters under the age of 21.

This year Florida started out with a terrible death toll on the
water. The state was on pace through June to record its deadliest
year ever from boating accidents.

That grim toll slowed in recent months, but 65 people have died
in boating accidents this year. The worst year was in 2005 with 80
boating deaths.

The mandatory safety class for all boaters has reduced boating
deaths by 25 percent in several other states.

So the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission plans
to push that idea with legislation next spring.


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