UTAH (ABC4) – Utah is known for its number of lakes and reservoirs and is a popular destination for boaters and other water recreations. With the popular season of boating coming up, it’s important to remind visitors to always be safe on Utah waters.

Boating fatality rates have increased over the years across the nation, according to a recent federal study. Utah is one state with higher-than-average fatality rates accounting for 10 or more deaths per 100,000 recreational registered vessels.

The study cites the number one cause of boating-related death was drowning. Most deaths occurred in lakes and reservoirs where the weather was calm and visibility was good.

The main reason for accidents and deaths was usually due to user errors such as improper lookout, operator inattention, excessive speed, or alcohol use. Alcohol use was the number one contributing factor of boating deaths in 2020.

Out of all Utah boating accidents, nearly half of them occur at Lake Powell, followed by Bear Lake, Willard Bay and Utah Lake.

The National Safety Council says that life jackets are essential for safe boating. Always make sure your jacket is a proper fit for your size and weight and make sure the jacket is properly fastened.

Also remember to never drink and operate a boat, try to go out during daylight hours only and be familiar with the boating state laws before heading out on the water.