Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Water and Boating Safety

As summer arrives upon us, folks naturally start heading for the water. Be it beaches, boats, or the local river, water recreation is one of the most popular ways to beat the heat. Unfortunately, tragedy always seems to follow this exodus. In an effort to stem some of that loss, here are some ways to remain safe on and around the water.

On this week's Gunblog Varietycast, Erin went over some good water safety tips. Some of her links are so important that they bear repeating:
In addition, there are several other ways to prevent or mitigate accidents while recreating on the water.

Don't drink and boat
Many folks who would never drink and drive don't draw the parallel to drinking and driving their boats. Not only is it usually illegal, it is invariably dangerous. Behind the wheel is behind the wheel, and the risks are exactly the same. Just don't risk it.

Life preservers save lives
The US Coast Guard estimates that 80% of lives lost in boating accidents could have been saved by proper use of a life jacket. They provide an excellent guide for life jacket use and selection here.

Install barriers or covers around pools
Keep unsupervised children away from danger by limiting access.

If your boat has an accident, stay with it if possible
Shore is often deceptively far away, too far to safely swim. Also, your boat is larger than you are, and easier for searchers to locate. If you must swim for shore, try and get some kind of flotation device from your boat before you leave it. Life jackets or throwable floatation aids can make all the difference in getting to shore.

Keep noisemakers handy
Air horns and emergency whistles carry much further than the human voice, with far less effort. Emergency whistles can even be attached to life jackets, so that they're always at hand. Blow three short blasts to signal distress.

Reach or throw, don't go
Use a pole or flotation device and rope whenever you can to aid someone in distress. Getting into the water greatly increases your odds of becoming another victim.

Keep the group together
If multiple people need help on the water, stick together. Groups are far easier to find than individuals, and can help each other keep going until rescue arrives.

Keep your head above water.

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