PORTSMOUTH (AP) -- The Coast Guard and Virginia Marine Police are getting the word out on safe boating ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
A Coast Guard report says the number of deaths from boating accidents in Virginia fell to 15 last year from 21 in 2011, while the number of accidents decreased to 89 from 121 the year before.
Nationwide, the Coast Guard says fatal boating deaths fell 14 percent last year to 651. Alcohol was the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, and 84 percent of the drowning victims of boating accidents weren't wearing protective vests.
The top five factors in all boating accidents last year were operator inattention, inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure and excessive speed.
Click here for more information on boating safety and how to minimize your risk on the water.