Boaters, be safe by using common sense

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, local volunteers who assist the Coast Guard and the state of Hawai‘i want to increase public awareness about the importance of boating safety. Presented below are four easy to follow tips for becoming a safe boater:

• Always wear your life jacket. Statistics show that many boating fatalities could have been avoided simply by wearing a life jacket. Wearing a life jacket while boating is like wearing a seat belt when driving or riding in a vehicle. To say ‘I have a life jacket on board’ is like saying ‘I’ll put my seat belt on just before the accident.’ Life jackets save lives. Wear one anytime you are on the water.

• Take a safe boating course. Statistics show that 80 percent of those involved in boating fatalities never took a boating safety course. Knowledge is the foundation of safe boating and may help you to respond to emergencies that could save your own or someone’s life. On Kaua‘i, we offer a free safe-boating course on the second Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. to noon at the Kaua‘i Veterans Center on Kapule Highway. For more information, call Jim Jung at 822-0448.

• Get a free vessel safety check. Boats that are properly equipped, in good operating condition, and are safe from hazards are less likely to be involved in accidents and fatalities.

Also, in the event you are boarded by the Coast Guard you will know that you are ready to pass their inspection and avoid a citation. Make sure your boat is a safe boat. You can schedule a vessel safety check by calling Jim Jung at 822-0448.

• Avoid alcohol while on or near the water. About 40 percent of all boating fatalities involve the use of alcohol. Alcohol doesn’t just impact the operator, passengers who have been imbibing are 10 times more likely to fall overboard and drown. Water and alcohol don’t mix.

By following these tips, you and your loved ones will enjoy 2007 and be around to enjoy many more for years to come.

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