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'91 boating deaths at '90 level

Boating deaths in Florida remained virtually the same in 1991 as the year before, but total property damage nearly doubled, authorities reported Monday.

The Florida Marine Patrol and Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission statistics showed that 103 people died in boat accidents last year, compared to 102 in 1990. Injuries rose from 556 in 1990 to 595 last year.

Total property damage rose from $4.4 million in 1990 to $8.7 million last year, the agencies reported.

The fatality rate in Florida in 1991 was 13.87 per 100,000 recreational boats, compared to a national average of 4.4 per 100,000, according to the statistics. Florida now has 611,199 registered vessels.

"We need to encourage boaters to "boat smart,' know the waterway rules of the road, take a safe boating course and be a safe, responsible boater," said Maj. J. K. Thompson, boating safety coordinator at the Marine Patrol.