May 14, 2014
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will join with the National Safe Boating Council to promote National Safe Boating Week on May 17-23. The week will encourage a safer recreational boating experience through education, outreach and training.
Simple steps help ensure safety, said Maj. Chris Huebner, the state boating safety coordinator. His boating safety tips include the following recommendations:
Do not operate a boat while impaired by alcohol or drugs, and do not maneuver in a reckless manner;
Follow all navigational rules while underway; and,
Wear a personal flotation device, better known as a life vest, while on the water.
“It’s the one recommendation — wearing a life vest — that can make the biggest life-or-death difference in the event of an accident,” Huebner said.
U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in almost three-fourths of recent recreational boating fatalities, and that 84 percent of those who drowned were not wearing a life vest.
“Most people who drown in a boating accident had a life vest available, but they were not wearing it when they entered the water,” Huebner said. “Accidents happen quickly. Too often, there isn’t time or you are unable to locate a life vest and put it on.”
Commission wildlife officers will offer pre-launch courtesy inspections at various public access areas throughout the summer.
“You can do your own pre-launch check as well,” Huebner said. “The webpage www.ncwildlife.org/boating provides a checklist, along with navigational rules and safety requirements.”
One important state regulation requires anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 operating a vessel powered by a 10-horsepower or greater motor to have completed an approved boating safety education course or otherwise be in compliance. The Commission offers free boating safety education courses throughout the year. For more information, call 919-707-0031 or visit www.ncwildlife.org/boating.