Remember boating safety during holiday weekend - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Remember boating safety during holiday weekend

(Source: MGN Online) (Source: MGN Online)

The Coast Guard is asking the public to remember to be safe while on the water this Fourth of July weekend.

According the the Coast Guard, this week is one of the busiest times of the year on the water. Boaters should be aware of, and obey, all federal and state regulations for recreational boating and navigation.

"Enjoy your Fourth of July boating weekend with family and friends," said Capt. Melvin Bouboulis, chief of staff for the 8th Coast Guard District. “Please remember to be safe and wear a life jacket. (Please) boat responsibly. Operating a vessel impaired, whether by fatigue, drugs or alcohol can turn a great day on the water into the tragedy of a lifetime."

2013 Boating Statistics

• 4,062 accidents that involved 560 deaths, 2,620 injuries and approximately $39 million in damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.

• 77 percent of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those, 84 percent were not reported as wearing a life jacket.

• 22 children under 13 lost their lives while boating in 2013. Eight of those died from drowning.

• 16 percent of all loss-of-life cases were the result of boating under the influence.

Boating Tips

• Always wear a life jacket. Since there is little time to reach for stowed vests when accidents occur, wearing one at all times reduces your risk of drowning. Federal law requires you to have a personal floatation device on board for each passenger.

• Have a VHF-FM marine-band radio on board. If you are in distress, you can reach the Coast Guard on marine-band channel 16, the distress channel. The Coast Guard, other rescue agencies and other boaters monitor marine-band radios 24/7, which increases the number of people who can respond. Though cell phones are better than no communication device at all, they tend to have gaps in coverage while on the water and have limited battery life.

• Have a float plan. A float plan is simply letting family and friends know where you are going and your expected time of return. File a float plan with someone who is not getting underway with you and stick to the plan. If you change plans, contact the person. A float plan assists responders in the search of an overdue boater who may be in distress.

• Be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas produced any time a carbon-based fuel, such as gasoline, propane, charcoal, or oil burns. It is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Sources on your boat include gasoline engines, generators, cooking ranges, and space and water heaters.

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