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Boating safety important during the busy season Coast Guard and Sanibel Fire say

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Boating can be a fun and relaxing activity, but it can also be dangerous, especially during the busy season. As the Coast Guard and Sanibel Fire advise, taking boating safety seriously is crucial to prevent accidents and ensure everyone’s well-being. With more vessels on the water, it’s important to be aware of the rules and regulations, wear life jackets, and avoid alcohol consumption. By following these guidelines, boaters can enjoy a safe and enjoyable time on the water during the busy season.

Boating Safety Important During the Busy Season: Coast Guard and Sanibel Fire Say

It’s that time of year again, folks! When the sun is shining and the water is calling, there’s nothing quite like a day out on the boat. However, with all the excitement of summer comes the sobering reality that boating accidents can and do happen. According to the US Coast Guard, there were over 4,000 recreational boating accidents in 2020 alone, resulting in 767 deaths and nearly $56 million in property damage. That’s why it’s more important than ever to prioritize boating safety during the busy season.

Wear Your Life Jacket

One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your passengers while boating is to wear a life jacket. According to the National Safe Boating Council, approximately 84% of those who drowned in boating accidents in 2020 were not wearing life jackets. It’s not just about having a life jacket onboard – it’s about wearing it. Make sure everyone onboard has a properly fitting life jacket, and encourage them to wear it at all times.

Know Your Navigation Rules

Just like on the road, there are rules of the “boating road” that you need to follow to stay safe. The most important of these rules is maintaining a proper lookout at all times, keeping an eye out for other boats, buoys, and hazards. You should also be aware of the local navigational aids, such as channel markers and buoys, and know what they mean. Don’t hesitate to ask for help or clarification if you’re unsure of anything.

Avoid Alcohol

Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a major contributor to boating accidents and fatalities. According to the US Coast Guard, alcohol was the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents in 2020, accounting for 23% of all boating fatalities. It’s important to remember that the effects of alcohol are amplified on the water, and even small amounts can impair your judgment and reaction time. If you plan on drinking, assign a designated driver or wait until the boat is safely back at the dock.

Prepare for the Worst

No one wants to think about the possibility of an accident or emergency on the water, but it’s important to be prepared just in case. Make sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit onboard, along with flares, a whistle, and a waterproof flashlight. It’s also a good idea to have a VHF radio to call for help in the event of an emergency. Make sure everyone onboard knows where the safety equipment is located and how to use it.

Check Your Equipment

Before heading out on the water, take the time to check your boat’s equipment and systems. This includes making sure all navigation lights are working, the fuel system is in good condition, and the electrical system is functioning properly. You should also check the weather forecast and make sure your boat is equipped with the necessary safety gear for the conditions.

Conclusion

Boating is a fun and exhilarating activity, but it’s important to remember that safety always comes first. By wearing a life jacket, following navigation rules, avoiding alcohol, preparing for emergencies, and checking your equipment, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable boating experience for everyone onboard. Don’t take chances on the water – stay alert, stay safe, and have fun!

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