Safe Boating Week
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National Safe Boating Week is sponsored by the National Safe Boating Council. The theme for the 2009 observance and throughout the year is “Wear It!” Everyone, on all types of boats, should wear properly fitted life jackets or personal flotation devices (PFD). By wearing a life jacket, the chances of drowning in a boating incident can be dramatically decreased.
Whenever you are headed out on the water, keep these tips from the U.S. Coast Guard in mind:
- Wear it. Properly fitted life jackets can prevent drowning and should be worn by everyone on any boat, at all times. Coast Guard-approved life jackets are now better looking and more comfortable.
- Don’t Drink. Alcohol use affects judgment, vision, balance, and coordination. Reports suggest that alcohol is a contributing factor in about one in five boating fatalities.
- Take a Course. People operating boats can help keep their passengers safe. Boating education courses teach the regulatory and statutory rules for safe operation and navigation of recreational boats.
- Get a Vessel Safety Check. The Vessel Safety Check (VSC) is a free public service provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron volunteer organizations. For more information on the VSC Program, visit their web site: www.vesselsafetycheck.orgexternal icon.
- Know about carbon monoxide (CO). All internal combustion engines, such as boat engines and onboard motor generators, emit CO, an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas. In the early stages of carbon monoxide poisoning, the symptoms are similar to seasickness; however, CO can kill in a matter of minutes. To avoid CO poisoning, be aware of the risk, ensure sufficient ventilation, properly install and maintain equipment, and use CO detectors, especially in living and sleeping areas.