SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – National Safe Boating Week begins this weekend, and before you head out on the water there are some important things to keep in mind.
Make sure you have life jackets. Nearly 85% of those who drown while boating were not wearing a life jacket.
Also be careful because the water is still pretty cold. According to the CDC, about half of the drowning victims in the United States each year die from the effects of cold water.
Weather can also be dangerous to boaters. A lightning strike can result in a fire or loss of electronics. If your boat has a cabin, stay inside and avoid touching metal or electrical devices during a thunderstorm. It is recommended you do not venture out if thunderstorms are in the forecast.
Have a float plan. Let people know where you’re going, who is aboard and what time you expect to return. It can be as easy as a text message to a friend or relative.
Owner of Brunelle Marina in South Hadley, Luke Brunelle, told 22News this years campaign is in the life jackets.
“They are very important. You want to check the straps and make sure everything is safe and not ripping. People check their boats every year and that’s one thing to look for. They’ve made vests more comfortable. They have inflatable vests that when you go in the water they inflate, and there’s the traditional water ski vests. If you’re not wearing them they’re not doing their job. Everybody under the age of 14 it’s mandatory, but everyone on the boat should be wearing a life jacket at all times.”