This past week was designated National Boating Safety Week. As school ends and more families and individuals will be on the water, Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal cautions parish residents about boating safety. Boating safety rules apply regardless of the size of the boat or the reason for being on the water.
There are numerous boating safety websites which provide valuable information. Simply go to any search engine and type in the words “boating safety.” Many sites will be displayed, all of them containing practical boating safety information. Boating safety tips taken from these websites contain the following common sense tips to help ensure safety while operating or riding in a boat.
- Know all boating safety rules before you get on the water.
- Check weather conditions before putting a boat in the water. If you notice darkening clouds, be alert and prepared. Even the possibility of lightning strikes is reason enough to get off the water.
- Let a responsible person know where you are going, when you are going and what time you expect to return.
- Be prepared for any possibility while you are on the water. Have proper life vests for each person in the boat as well as a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit.
- Check your boat, motor, trailer and all equipment before heading to the water. A good safety check is always time well spent.
- Make certain someone other than the driver of the boat knows how to operate the boat in the event the driver is unable to function.
- Carry a cellphone in a water tight container in the event you need to notify someone.
- Know how to swim. If for any reason you are ejected from the boat, be prepared to swim to safety.
- Avoid alcohol while on the water. Alcohol and water can be a deadly mix and the boat operator should never consume alcohol while boating.
“Some of the most heart-wrenching experiences we have are when we search for drowning victims,” said Sheriff Seal. “Such times are very difficult for families and for our officers. Please exercise extreme caution while on the water and always make certain a responsible adult is present.”