A Safety Reminder From the Coast Guard

What does the Coast Guard say?

Be safe over Independence Day.

Editor’s Note: All statistics are from the 2013 Recreational Boating report.

SEATTLE — The Coast Guard reminds all boaters to be safe over the Fourth of July weekend.

The Fourth of July weekend should be a fun time for families and friends on the waterways of the Pacific Northwest; however, the Coast Guard would like to remind everyone to:

ALWAYS:

  • Wear a lifejacket. There were 328 deaths across the nation because boaters were not wearing lifejackets.
  • Dress for the water temperature, not the air. While the weather may be nice and air temperatures warm, the water is still cold enough to cause hypothermia. In about 10 to 15 minutes, boaters exposed to cold water may have deteriorated strength and may not be able to pull themselves back into their vessel. Children and smaller adults will succumb more rapidly to exposure to cold water.
  • Create a float plan and give it to someone at home. A float plan allows family and friends to know the important Ws: where you’re going, when you’ll be back, and whom you’ll be with. It’s also important to stick to the plan and let them know if it changes.
  • Have a working VHF-FM radio onboard your vessel. The broadcast channel for distress is channel 16, and the Coast Guard can always be reached on that frequency. Remember, that channel is only for emergencies and should never be used as a toy or for making hoax calls.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings. There were 567 accidents in 2013 because of operator inattention, resulting 57 deaths.

NEVER:

  • Drink and boat. 236 boating accidents and 75 deaths occurred because of boaters under the influence of alcohol.
  • Use your flares as fireworks. A flare signals distress, to which the Coast Guard responds with urgency and vigilance. Setting off a flare when not in distress can interfere with legitimate search and rescue cases and could place responders at risk.

KEEP IN MIND:

  • Nationally in 2013, the month of July had the highest number of boating incidents throughout the entire year, with 920 accidents and 83 fatalities.
  • A majority of boating incidents happened in rivers, lakes and ponds.
  • There were 349 deaths on days with clear visibility and 253 deaths in calm waters.

For more information on vessel safety, please visit: http://www.uscgboating.org/.

Office: (206) 220-7237

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