It’s important to be a responsible boater and take necessary precautions this Fourth of July, the highest-boating traffic time of the summer. The Safe Boating Campaign, a program of the National Safe Boating Council, reminds boaters of three key tips to prevent a boating accident – always wear a life jacket, never boat under the influence, and use an engine cut-off device.
“The July 4th holiday is a great time to celebrate our freedom with family and friends while enjoying a safe boating experience,” said Peg Phillips, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council.
The Safe Boating Campaign shares these important boating safety reminders:
Always wear a life jacket. Drowning is the reported cause of death in 76 percent of all boating fatalities – and 84.5 percent of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket in 2017. Wearing a life jacket at all times while boating is the simplest safety step a boater can take, just like wearing a seat belt in a vehicle. Boaters can choose from a variety of U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets appropriate for their water activity.
Never boat under the influence. Boating under the influence is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. The side effects of alcohol or drug use, such as impaired judgment, reduced balance and poor coordination, are magnified while boating. Impairment can be even more dangerous for boaters than for drivers, since most boaters have less experience and confidence operating a boat than they do driving a car. The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, a partner of the Safe Boating Campaign, is coordinating Operation Dry Water from July 5-7 in every U.S. state and territory to raise awareness about BUI dangers.
Use an engine cut-off device. An engine cut-off device is a proven safety device to stop the boat’s engine should the operator unexpectedly fall overboard. In 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 172 accidents in which at least one person was struck by a propeller. These accidents resulted in 31 deaths and 162 injuries, which may have been prevented if the boat operator was wearing an engine cutoff device.
Find more boating safety tips at www.safeboatingcampaign.com.
The Safe Boating Campaign is produced under a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund and administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. All statistics are from the U.S. Coast Guard.