NC officials warn boaters to wear life jackets after 10 deaths this year

NC officials warn boaters to wear life jackets after 10 deaths this year
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RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) - North Carolina officials are putting out a warning after 10 people have already died in boating accidents this year.

Six of those victims were not wearing life-jackets, according to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

"Accidents do happen, the majority of them are preventable," said Senior Officer Joseph Spears. "Now more people are going to get out on the lakes and on the rivers. Weather is starting to improve. With the increase of boat traffic there's the increased chance of a boating accident."

On Saturday, James Pleasants and his son were out on Harris Lake for their routine Saturday morning fishing outing.

These kinds of mornings, though, often remind Pleasants of a recent near-tragic incident when his son, who was not wearing a life-jacket, fell into the water while they were fishing.

"Luckily I was standing right beside him and I heard him go in the water," said Pleasants. "I turned around, jumped in and got him. One little event like that will scare you. It'll wake you up."

Spears says not all accidents have such a fortunate ending.

Spears says North Carolina is ranked sixth for the most boating accidents and deaths across the country.

"Most of them are avoidable if most people would actually wear a life-jacket," said Spears. "It could potentially save their life."

Spears says boaters must have a life jacket for every person on board, a throw cushion, fire extinguisher and a sound device such as a horn.