Recreational boating fatalities decreased to a record low of 784 nationwide last year, down 15 percent since 1991 and part of a 25 percent decline since 1984, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard attributes the decrease in fatal accidents to more people wearing personal flotation devices, formal training and careful and sober operation of boats.
But while fatalities are declining, the number of accidents reported has increased, with an all-time high of 2,685 incidents -- last year.
The Coast Guard statistics show that a 30 percent rise in collisions involving personal watercraft contributed significantly to the increase in overall accidents.
Personal watercraft and small, open motorboats are involved in two-thirds of all reported accidents last year and 80 percent of the personal watercraft accidents involved collisions with other vessels.
The primary cause of all boating accidents reported continues to be operator error. Operators without formal boating instruction were involved in 80 percent of the accidents with fatalities.
Almost half of the fatalities involved boats less than 16 feet in length, and capsizing or falling overboard accounted for the majority of fatal accidents.
The Department of Natural Resources will hold a public meeting to discuss changes to freshwater fisheries regulations for next year at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Tawes State Office Building in Annapolis.
Among the changes are modifications to closure schedules for put-and-take trout fishing areas and additions to the list of
put-and-take trout areas.
The Fall Maryland Recreational Vehicle Show is open at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium this week The show runs through next Sunday and opens at noon each day.
Potomac canoe trips
DNR's Forest and Park Service is booking two-day overnight canoe trips on the Potomac River near Green Ridge State Forest.
Novice or experienced paddlers are welcome to register for the trips on Sept. 23-24 and Oct. 7-8. Cost of the trip is $100 per person and includes guides, meals, equipment (except toiletries and tents) and transportation to the put-in and take-out locations.
One-day canoe trips are scheduled Oct. 14 and 15 at a cost of $40 per person.
$ Call (301) 478-3124.