Maryland reports increase in boating deaths

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In 2011, Maryland recorded the most boating fatalities in more than a decade.

Twenty-five people, ranging in age from 14 to 81, were killed last year in boating accidents. The victims were sailors and watermen, sportsmen and pleasure boaters. Only one — the youngest — was female, the Baltimore Sun reported.

“There's only so much we can do. The water is a dangerous place, and people need to be aware of their surroundings and actions,” Sgt. Art Windemuth, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Police, told the newspaper.

Warm weather in May coaxed recreational boaters out early and quickly rising temperatures kept them coming back weekend after weekend, he said.

“We started out with a bang and went right past spring to summer. It was one perfect weekend after another,” Windemuth said. “With the increased level of activity came the fatalities.”

Maryland boating deaths peaked in 1979 at 37, and during the last decade the state has averaged a dozen deaths a year. By mid-2011, it was obvious to state officials that it might be an above-average year. On June 23, the 11th death was recorded, compared with just four by that point the previous year.

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