ANCHORAGE - Gov. Tony Knowles has declared May 18-31 as Safe Boating Week.
About 25 Alaskans are likely to die this year in recreational boating accidents, the yearly average and more than the number of commercial fishing deaths, according to the Coast Guard.
Alaska has one of the highest boating fatality rates in the country, said Jeff Johnson of the state Division of Parks, the administrator of Alaska's boating laws.
"The leading causes are capsizings and falls overboard when people are not wearing lifejackets," Johnson said. "Alaska's cold water kills good swimmers every year."
Nationwide, 90 percent of the 700-800 victims who die each year in boating-related accidents are not wearing protection, the Coast Guard said.
"A typical victim had no safety training, was operating in good weather and died by drowning after a fall overboard or capsizing," it said. The principal theme of Safe Boating Week is "Wear your life jacket."