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The U.S. Coast Guard is warning boaters of the dangers of operating vessels while under the influence of alcohol.

The Coast Guard says its recreational boating statistics show alcohol use was the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents last year. The Coast Guard says alcohol use contributed to 16 percent of deaths on the water in 2013.

Operators under the influence may be arrested and subject to federal and state penalties that can include fines and suspension or revocation of operator privileges. Operators also can go to jail.

The Coast Guard’s Cleveland office warns that alcohol affects judgment, vision, balance and coordination.

Coast Guard accident data show that more than half of the victims in boating deaths involving alcohol use either capsized their boat or fell overboard.


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