Summertime is the season for boating safety

Published 7:00 am Thursday, July 23, 2015

Whether it be for fishing, skiing or just a leisurely ride, boating can be a pleasurable past time, so long as safety takes a front seat.
Before heading out on the water, check the weather forecast. Even if the weather was said to be favorable, its unpredictable nature can lead to dark skies without notice. So, take heed of dark clouds, high winds and lightning by getting off the water when these conditions arise.
Pay attention to no wake zones and watch your speed in residential areas. Children could be playing in the water, so keeping a vigilant eye on your surroundings is crucial.
Train teenagers and young adults in the practices of boating safety, which includes versing them on the operation and handling of the watercraft. Should an injury occur to the primary operator, this training will ensure another person on board is capable of navigating the boat back to land.
Before heading out, ensure another member of the family or a close friend knows your planned route. That way should the unexpected occur, they know where to send search and rescue personnel.
And most of all, don’t forget to bring enough life jackets for all passengers on board, including the operator. Life jackets should be the correct size for each person so they protect your crew from drowning.
Just like with operating a road vehicle, alcohol consumption is a bad idea while boating. Not only does alcohol use increase your risk of an accident, it causes the body to dehydrate, which is further increased by the summer heat.
Boaters should also ensure their vessel is in top operating condition. Gas lines should not display signs of leakage and boaters should also watch out for carbon monoxide exposure. Signs of carbon monoxide exposure include headaches, dizziness, loss of consciousness and nausea.
So, this summer be sure to have a safe time on the water.

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