National Safe Boating Week

Published on May 6th, 2015

To make sure boating stays fun, it is important to make safety a priority. According to the most recent U.S. Coast Guard report, more than 4,000 recreational boating accidents occurred in 2013, resulting in 560 deaths and more than 2,600 injuries.

In an effort to prevent such tragedies, May 16-22 is National Safe Boating Week. To ensure that time spent in and around the water this summer is both safe and enjoyable, here are some safety tips from First Alert and The Lehigh Group:

Take a Course – The top two contributing factors to boating incidents are operator inattention and inexperience. Boating education courses teach the rules for safe operation and navigation of recreational boats, and can help boat operators keep their passengers safe.

Wear It – In 71% of all fatal boating accidents, the victims drown. Of these, 85% are not wearing a life jacket. Properly fitted life jackets can prevent drowning and should be worn at all times by everyone on any boat. Comfortable Coast Guard-approved life jackets are widely available.

Upgrade Equipment – Replacing ropes will mean better performance and higher safety assurance. Look for changing color or fraying in your ropes as a signal of age and wear.

Don’t Drink – Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Boating under the influence of alcohol is just as deadly as drinking and driving. Due to sun exposure and heat, people are likely to become impaired more quickly when on the water. So play it safe and avoid alcohol when boating.

Know about Carbon Monoxide – Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and poisonous gas that is emitted by all internal combustion engines, such as boat engines and onboard motor generators. In the early stages, the symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to seasickness, but CO can kill in a matter of minutes. The only way to detect CO is with an alarm, so install CO alarms onboard, especially in living and sleeping areas.

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