2004-05-21 / Community

Prepare Now For Summer Boating Safety

Prepare Now For Summer Boating Safety

With the beginning of summer approaching, millions of people in the United States are enjoying boating, one of America’s most popular pastimes.

Whether using sailboats, powerboats or personal watercrafts such as jet-skis, the enjoyment of boating also presents dangers. As a result, it’s important to protect yourself by understanding and following some basic safety rules.

According to the latest U.S. Coast Guard statistics, in 2001 more than 6,419 boating accidents were reported and approximately 681 people lost their lives.

"Many boating accidents are preventable and knowing the causes of common accidents helps to avoid them," says Manuel Goncalves of Alstate Insurance Company’s New York Region. "Nearly 70 percent of boating accidents involve operator factors such as operator inattention, careless or reckless operation, operator inexperience, no proper lookout and operating at an unsafe speed."

The Allstate Safe Boater Pledge, approved by the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Safe Boating Council, recommends that boaters:

• Take a boating education course, Allstate offers discounts (subject to
availability and qualifications) to boaters who have successfully completed qualifying boating courses from groups such as the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and U.S. Power Squadron

• Make wearing life jackets a rule. Most laws require having U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets on board your vessel (for all passengers.)
• Don’t mix drinking and boating

• Know the weather and water conditions

• File a float plan; give the information to a friend or relative who can call for help if you do not return as scheduled

• Observe the nautical rules-of-the road including speed limits.

• Get a courtesy vessel safety check
•Report emergencies via Ch. 16 on a marine VHF-FM radio

• Do not discharge oil, trash or sewage into the water.

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