Boating Safety a Priority this Holiday Weekend

MAY 25, 2005 -- The Wrightsville Beach Coast Guard is cruising the Intracoastal Waterway looking for unprepared boaters before the holiday weekend. They are checking safety gear, boater registration, and looking for life vests. Life vests are not required unless you're under 12 years of age. However, the Coast Guard is encouraging everyone to wear them while the boats are moving.

The Coast Guard says it's a good idea to have cell phones on board, but even better are devices called E.P.I.R.B's. They are basically emergency global positioning systems. When you pull the tab on one of them an antennae pops out. It sends your exact location to the Coast Guard. It used to cost $700 to $800. Now it's in the $150 to $200 range.

Don't forget being safe doesn't have to cost you anything at all. Petty Officer Jason Fealy says having a sail plan can save your life. He recommends everyone tell their loved ones where they are going and how long they plan on being there.

The Coast Guard says these tips are important for the whole boating season, not just this holiday weekend.

Reported by Ashley Hayes