The warm weather brings with it many great recreational opportunities. With New York’s abundance of incredible waterways, summer boating season is one we can all look forward to enjoying. Tomorrow, Saturday, May 22 kicks off the Safe Boating Council’s National Safe Boating Week, which runs through Friday, May 28. During this week, it is important to review relevant safety precautions and ensure the season is both fun and safe. The week is the result of a partnership between the National Safe Boating Council, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service. Together, the agencies are encouraging boaters to follow best practices and safety guidelines.
According to advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Coast Guard, there are a few important tips to remember as you take your boat into any body of water. Those tips include:
- Bringing a life vest– Ensure the life vests fit properly and are in good condition. You should have one for every passenger on the boat at all times. U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate drowning was responsible for 80 percent of recreational boating deaths in 2019, and 86 percent of the individuals that drowned were not wearing life jackets.
- Checking the weather– Know what to expect while out on the boat, and pay attention to relevant warnings and alerts. Keep track of any storm warnings, wind alerts and the water temperature before embarking.
- Having backup communication devices– Boaters are encouraged to bring at least two communication devices that can function while wet. Those include satellite phones, emergency position radio beacons and VHF radios. For reference, VHF-channel 16 is the emergency channel for mariners and should be reserved only for instances of an actual emergency. Cell phones are, generally, not considered adequate emergency coverage for boating.
Additional boating safety information can be found courtesy of the National Weather Service and the National Safe Boating Council. Further, there are numerous great boating safety courses available, and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron also offer free vessel checks. You can visit their website to learn more about those checks.
Lastly, if you are taking your boat from one body of water to another, ensure that it is properly cleaned. Invasive species are a costly and avoidable problem and proper boat care is critical to combat those species.