National Safe Boating Week in May

  • Tuesday, April 29, 2014

During National Safe Boating Week, which runs May 17-23, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) will be conducting boating courtesy inspections throughout the state.

The East Cooper area has seen tremendous growth in the past two decades, and the waterways have seen incredible congestion during the “100 Deadly Day of summer.” The SCDNR wants to get some common sense tips out to the boating public to decrease the likelihood of tragic events.

Before leaving on a boat outing, fill out a boating float plan and make sure you leave the plans with a responsible individual. Check the weather and let someone know where you are going.

Gather all lifesaving devices (Personal Flotation Devices). Make sure they are in good serviceable condition and are the correct size and fit for all passengers (especially children). A properly fitted life jacket is not only more comfortable but it functions better as well. Life jackets that are too small or too large can ride up when you're in the water – or even come off.

Check the fuel and the battery charge and make sure all lights are in good working condition on the boat and boat trailer.

Make sure the fire extinguisher is readily accessible and in good serviceable condition. Remember to connect the trailer's safety chains to the towing vehicle and carry a cell phone if possible.

Once on the water know the aids to navigation and buoy system in your areas and obey all the rules of the water. Don't operate the boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and when operating sailboats, be aware of overhead power lines and wires.

If someone falls overboard, throw something to them that will float (Personal Floatation Device, raft or cooler). Know that all boats approaching from the right have the right of way. Always anchor from the bow of the boat and pull the anchor before leaving.

If caught in a storm, head into the wind, put on PFD's and keep passengers low in the boat.

Remember that Personal Flotation Devices (PFD's, life jackets, life preservers and life vests) are the most important piece of equipment on a boat; they are the best defense against drowning. Each year, on average, 700 people die in boating-related accidents nationwide. Nearly 80 percent of the victims were not wearing a life jacket. Boaters should note that all boats must have a U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable life jacket on board for each person and remember when you're boating to be respectful of others.

Boaters are held responsible for any damage to another boat or property.

Have a safe summer.

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