What better way to kick off the summer boating season in the USA than to pause a moment this week and reflect on how we can contribute to a safer boating season? Happily, boaters are safer today as reflected in the latest accident statistics for 2014—one of lowest in history for safe boating. Congratulate yourself, because more frequent lifejacket use, more sober skippers, a greater interest in education and other safe practices can be credited with creating a safer sport.
Lifejacket wear is the best way to save boaters’ lives. Most boating fatalities are drownings and most drowning victims went into the water without a lifejacket. In the US, children are required to wear a lifejacket (see your state laws for details), yet too many drowned last year without wearing a lifejackets. It may be easier to get your children to wear their lifejacket, if you are wearing yours.
Statistics also show alcohol is involved in a high proportion of boating fatalities. In an age when public is aware of the dangers of operating any machinery while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, its still surprising that we too often wink at the practice among weekend boaters. Skippers, at least give some thought to being the designated captain and keep careful watch over your crew. Law enforcement personnel will be watchful this season and will be extremely appreciative of your support!
There are lots of great resources for you to study and if you’re having trouble getting your family and friends to “buy in” to safer practices, suggest this website to them: boatingmag.com/boatingsafety.
Also, sharpen your skills with the great story and video links below!
Have a great summer! See ya’ on the water.
Be a Safe Boater and Make Sure Life Jackets are Part of Your Gear
Mayday: How to Call for Help During a Boating Emergency