Always ‘Wear It!’ and Boat Responsibly

When four friends were out fishing on Spring Lake near Sea Bright, New Jersey, they never thought rescue workers would pull them to safety that afternoon. Their boat had taken on water, and another boater noticed they were in distress and called the U.S. Coast Guard. All of them were wearing life jackets, and aside from being a little cold the four people were safe.

This is just one of the many types of incidences the National Safe Boating Council highlights in its efforts to educate recreational boaters about the importance of proper preparation and consistent life jacket wear. Situations on the water can deteriorate quickly, and always wearing a life jacket can not only give you peace of mind to control an emergency situation, but can also save your life.

National Safe Boating Week is from May 16 - 22, 2015.

And here are some tips to keep in mind before you hit the water, this summer:

Make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket — even experienced swimmers. There are innovative options, such as inflatable life jackets, allowing mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, paddling or hunting, and are much cooler in the warmer weather.
 

  • Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved, appropriate for your water activity, and that it fits properly. A life jacket that is too large or too small can cause different situational problems.

  • Always dress for the weather, wear layers if cooler weather, and bring an extra set of clothes in case you get wet.

  • Be sure to prepare your boat as well. There are many items that need to be checked and re-checked on any boat. Schedule a free Vessel Safety Check with your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons before you hit the water.

  • Know your boat’s capacity. If you have more on your boat than it was designed to handle, the boat may become unstable and capsize.

  • Know the latest marine weather forecast prior to going out, and keep a regular check for changing condition.

  • File a float plan with someone you trust that includes details about the trip, boat, passengers, towing or trailer vehicle, communication equipment, and emergency contacts. Download a free float plan template at floatplancentral.org.

  • Always follow navigation rules. Know the ‘Rules of the Road’ such as operator's responsibility, maintaining a proper lookout, safe speed, crossing, meeting head-on and overtaking situations. Find out more at boatoncourse.com.

  • Don’t drink alcohol while you boat. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; it was listed as the leading factor in 16 percent of deaths in 2013. Find out more at operationdrywater.org.

  • Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Gasoline-powered engines on boats, including onboard generators, produce carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless and odorless gas that can poison or kill someone who breathes too much of it.

  • Keep in touch. Communication devices can be the most important piece of emergency equipment on board a vessel, especially in case of emergency. In addition to cell phones, satellite phones, emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs), VHF radios and personal locator beacons (PLBs) can all contribute in an emergency situation. Find out more at savedbythebeacon.com.

  • Don’t panic if you fall into the water. Stay afloat with the help of your life jacket, regain control of your breathing, and keep your head above water in vision of rescuers. Stay with the boat if possible.

Going fishing is a lot of fun, but always remember safety first — you never know when wearing your life jacket will save your life. Always Wear It! For more information, check Take Me Fishing’s Safe Boating Checklist.

Rachel Johnson is executive director of the National Safe Boating Council, the lead organization for the North American Safe Boating Campaign. The yearlong campaign, simply known as Wear It!, promotes safe and responsible boating and the value of voluntary life jacket wear by recreational boaters. Wear It! unites the efforts of a wide variety of boating safety advocates and is produced under a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. For more information about boating safety and life jacket wear, follow on Twitter at twitter.com/boatingcampaign and Like at facebook.com/safeboatcampaign, or visit safeboatingcampaign.com.


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Bruna Carincotte

Bruna Carincotte

Bruna Carincotte brings to RBFF an extensive International experience in marketing, communications and public relations.  Originally from Brazil, and fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English, Bruna has 13 years of experience in communications, with relevant project management skills developed in Latin America, Europe and North America.
Bruna now oversees public relations and social media strategies, as well as content development for RBFF’s social media channels and it’s Take Me Fishing™ | Vamos a Pescar™ brand campaigns.