For the second time in a month, sailboat crew members have died while racing off the California coast.
Two weeks ago, five died when their 38-foot boat was swamped by two waves near the Farallon Islands, 27 miles from San Francisco.
And now, four crew members are believed to have been killed when their 37-foot-boat disappeared Saturday on a race between Newport Beach and Ensenada, Mexico. The regatta sponsors believe the sailboat collided with a "much larger vessel" although theU.S. Coast Guard has yet to determine a cause.
But despite these two tragedies, statistics kept by the Coast Guard indicate that even though the waters off the West Coast are heavily used by recreational boaters, merchant ships andU.S. Navyvessels, accidents are exceedingly rare.
In 2010, the last year for which statistics were available, there were six accidents involving recreational boaters reported to the Coast Guard three miles or more into the Pacific Ocean -- with only one fatality. By comparison, there were 18 accidents in the Atlantic.