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Don't get sloppy on the dangerous seas

The powerboat 'Stingray' with six people on board

The powerboat 'Stingray' with six people on board struck a barge in the Hudson River just south of the Tappan Zee Bridge. (July 27, 2013) Credit: Theodore Parisienne

Boating season is fast approaching, with some sobering numbers released last week to remind us of the importance of being safe.

Boating fatalities rose sharply in New York in 2014. The raw numbers were relatively modest -- 27 deaths across the state -- but the increase from 2013, 50 percent, was big.

Some familiar lessons emerge from those statistics. One is to wear a life jacket; nearly three-quarters of those who died in boating accidents over the past 10 years were not wearing a personal flotation device. Another is not to drink and operate a vessel; alcohol or drugs were present in more than 40 percent of last year's boating fatalities. And, take a safety course; they work.

Of course, there is another way to more simply sum up our advice: Don't be stupid.