Coast Guard urges boating safety for holiday weekend

From the US Coast Guard:

WILMINGTON, NC — Due to a high number of water related deaths in June, the Coast Guard urges boaters and beachgoers to be safe and prepared for the holiday weekend.

Even though the average number of boating related deaths has dropped both nationally and regionally trends show that numbers rise during the summer months.

"There is a certain element of risk when you go boating, and there are inherent dangers to swimming in tidal waters," said Dennis Sens, Coast Guard 5th District recreational boating safety specialist. "As more people consider heading to the water, they should also consider how to be safe on it."

Being educated about safe boating could save a life. Most boating fatalities occur when the boat operator has not completed a boating safety education course. Courses cover many aspects of boating safety, from boat handling to reading the weather.

The Coast Guard also urges boaters to obtain a free vessel safety check, which is conducted by the Coast Guard Auxiliary before heading out on the water. Vessel safety checks are courtesy examinations of your vessel, verifying the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations.

"Just as you practice defensive driving on the road, you need to do so just as much, if not more, on the water," said Sens. "Be aware of your surroundings and react accordingly, especially at night, in bad weather, or when there are many more boaters on the water. It's critical to be mindful of navigation."

For further boating, beach and water safety information, check online at one of the following: