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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced last week that fatalities on Minnesota lakes were the lowest that they have been since 1961. Boating fatalities have declined for the last several years, with 12 people dying last year, 15 in 2007 and 14 in 2006. In comparison, 57 boaters died in 1961, 30 died in 2002 and 23 died in 2005.

Of the 12 deaths this last year, ten victims weren’t wearing life jackets. Alcohol was a factor in five of the deaths and cold water contributed to five fatalities. The alcohol involvement is actually a drop from past years which have shown about a 50% involvement of alcohol in boating deaths. It is also at a time when some studies have suggested increased drinking on Minnesota lakes.

As with any death in a Minnesota boating accident, there are a number of issues that will need to be reviewed. I was interviewed last year on the wrongful death topic. These cases require early investigation and knowledgeable lawyers who understand the issues involved.

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