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Louisiana boating deaths hit record low in 2013

Boating deaths in Louisiana were a record-low 13 last year, state wildlife officials say.

The previous low was 19 in 1992, the Associated Press reported. The high was 79 in 1974, which was the first year that boating incident statistics were recorded.

Since 2010, the wire service said, Louisiana has averaged 25 boating fatalities a year.

The data are from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' Enforcement Division's Boating Safety Program.

The department attributed the drop primarily to the state's mandatory boating education class. Since 2003, more than 50,000 boaters statewide have been certified.

Officials say stricter driving or operating a vessel while under the influence enforcement and the introduction of new regulations for wearing a personal flotation device also helped lower the numbers.

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