Boat Safety - Quick tips for Labor Day Weekend


Many people will be boating over Labor Day weekend. Boating can be a fun, enjoyable way to spend your last weekend of summer. However, boating can be dangerous. Here are some tips to enjoy safe boating over the labor day weekend.


Make sure the operator of the boat has received some kind of boating safety instruction. According to the Coast Guard "statistics show on average that eighty (80%) of all reported fatalities occur on boats where the operator has not received boating safety instruction." The stat shows the safer vessel for Labor Day Weekend boating is one operated by someone who has taken a boating safety course.


Make sure you and your family wear life jackets while boating over Labor Day weekend. Wearing a life jacket is critical for children. The Coast Guard states "life jackets could prevent approximately two-thirds of all boating-related drownings of children 14 and under." "Drowning remains second only to motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1 to 14" and simply requiring children to wear life jackets will help reduce those numbers. When adults wear life jackets they set an example of safe boating for children.


Don't drink and boat. Alcohol and safe boating don't mix. It is similar to drunk driving. Operating a boat under the influence is against the law, and being arrested for a BUI (Boating Under the Influence) is one way to ruin a Labor Day Weekend boating trip. Another way to ruin a trip is to be involved in an alcohol related boating accident. Save the alcohol until you are ashore, or the boat is docked. Alcohol can dehydrate you in hot, summer weather. Even if you are not operating the boat you may want to hold off on the alcohol while boating. Alcohol could affect your balance and ability to move around a boat. It could affect your vision. It could affect your ability to swim in an emergency.


Have a vessel safety check. This is important if your boat hasn't been used often. Make sure your boat is safe for the Labor Day Weekend boating trip. The Coast Guard Auxiliary offers a free vessel safety check which takes about 20 minutes.


Pay attention to your speed. The waters will be busier with more boats and personal water crafts over the holiday weekend. A safe boat operator would reduce their speed while navigating crowded waterways and keep a sharp eye out for other people. The Coast Guard states "operator inattention, carelessness/reckless operation, excessive speed and passenger/skier behavior are the leading contributing factors of all reported accidents."


Having a boating safety course, making sure everyone is wearing their life jacket, boating sober, having your vessel inspected and watching your speed will greatly increase your ability to have a safe boating trip over the Labor Day Weekend.

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