Stay Safe on the Water: National Safe Boating Week
- Author: Friday, May 22nd, 2009
During National Safe Boating Week, and all year, "Wear It!"
By wearing a life jacket, you can dramatically decrease your chances of drowning in a boating incident.
Know the Facts
Recreational boating-enjoyed by over 70,000,000 Americans enjoy each year-can be a wonderful way to spend time with family and friends. And making boating safety a priority can ensure that it stays fun.
- In 2007, 4,586 people were injured, and 605 died, in boating incidents. Of those who drowned, 9 out of ten were not wearing life jackets.
- Over two-thirds (69%) of fatal boating incident victims drowned in 2007.
- An estimated 427 lives could have been saved in 2007 if all boaters had worn life jackets.
- Alcohol use was the leading contributing factor in fatal boating incidents.
Reduce Your Risk
Whenever you are headed out on the water, keep these tips from the U.S. Coast Guard in mind:
Wear it. Properly fitted life jackets can prevent drownings and should be worn by everyone on any boat, at all times. Coast Guard-approved life jackets are now better looking and more comfortable.
Don't Drink. Alcohol use affects judgment, vision, balance, and coordination. Reports suggest that alcohol was a contributing factor in about one in five boating fatalities.
Take a Course. People operating boats can help keep their passengers safe. Boating education courses teach the regulatory and statutory rules ("Rules of the Road") for safe operation and navigation of recreational boats.
Get a Vessel Safety Check. The Vessel Safety Check (VSC) is a free public service provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron volunteer organizations. For more information on the VSC Program, visit their web site: www.vesselsafetycheck.org.
Know about carbon monoxide (CO). All internal combustion engines, such as boat engines and onboard motor generators, emit CO, an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas. In the early stages, the symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to seasickness, but CO can kill in a matter of minutes. To avoid CO poisoning, be aware of the risk, ensure sufficient ventilation, properly install and maintain equipment, and use CO detectors, especially in living and sleeping areas.