Tags Posts tagged with "National Safe Boating Safety Week"

National Safe Boating Safety Week

Stock photo

Boating, whether for fishing, leisure or sport, is a cherished pastime that brings joy to many residents all over the Island. However, with the thrill and relaxation that come with boating, there is an accompanying responsibility that must not be overlooked — safety! This is why National Safe Boating Week, observed from May 18-24 this year, holds such significance for our waterfront communities.

National Safe Boating Week serves as a vital reminder of the importance of adhering to safety protocols on the water. Statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard highlight that the vast majority of boating accidents are preventable. In 2023 alone, there were 3,844 boating incidents, resulting in 564 fatalities. Alarmingly, 75% of these deaths were due to drowning, and 87% of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets. There was also a total of property damage of $63 million.

These statistics are a valuable reminder that simple precautions can save lives.

Importance of life preservers

One of the simplest yet most effective safety measures is wearing a life jacket. Modern life jackets are designed for comfort and ease of use. Ensuring that each passenger on your vessel is properly outfitted with a life jacket is a basic yet critical step in boating safety. It is not just about compliance with regulations, it is about safeguarding lives.

Boating safety courses

Understanding how to operate your boat and navigate the waters is crucial. Boating safety courses are widely available and provide essential knowledge on navigation rules, emergency procedures and boat handling. These courses are not just for beginners. Even experienced boaters can benefit from refresher classes to stay updated on the latest safety practices and regulations.

The U.S. Power Squadrons offer a plethora of courses for those seeking boating safety advice, information and knowledge. Visit their website, www.usps.org/sss-boating-courses, for more information. Additionally, New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation has over 55 years of experience teaching captains to operate their boats safely. It offers an in-classroom course option designed as a comprehensive study of boating safety to teach the fundamentals of safe boating operation at parks.ny.gov/boating/boating-safety-class. 

Don’t drink and drive

Alcohol is a leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Like driving, operating a boat under the influence impairs judgment, balance and coordination, significantly increasing the risk of an accident. Our community must recognize that boating under the influence is not only illegal but also endangers everyone on the water. Designating a sober captain is a responsible choice that can prevent tragedies.

Be prepared

Being prepared for emergencies can make a significant difference in the outcome of a boating trip. This includes having a well-equipped first-aid kit, signaling devices and a fire extinguisher on board. Additionally, boaters should file a float plan with a friend or family member, detailing the trip’s destination, purpose and timeframe. This simple step can expedite rescue efforts in case of an emergency. Regular vessel safety checks are essential, too.

We share the responsibility of promoting and practicing boating safety. Even after National Safe Boating Week, let us commit to making our waterways safer for everyone. By embracing safety measures, educating ourselves and others and fostering a culture of responsibility, we can ensure that boating remains a joyous and safe activity for everyone. It is, after all, one of Long Island’s main attractions.