Kentucky is a beautiful state full of boundless forests and clear lakes. Once summertime hits, what better way to enjoy the Kentucky riverscape than by cruising in your watercraft? Recreational boating can be a phenomenal way to spend time with family and friends. However, each time you take your watercraft out on the water is a new experience. Making safety a priority can ensure that these activities stay fun. Consider that:
• Since 2010, there have been over 400 watercraft-related incidents in Kentucky
• Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal accidents.
• Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and alcohol use rank as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents. Reduce Risk Before heading out on the water, keep these tips in mind: • Take a Course. More than 7 out of every 10 boating incidents are caused by operator error. Boating education courses teach the rules for safe operation and navigation of recreational boats, and can help boat operators keep their passengers safe.
• Get a Vessel safety Check. The Vessel Safety Check (VSC) is a free public service provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron volunteer organizations.
• Wear a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard while on boats, and around open bodies of water
• The primary and backup operator (if present) should abstain from consuming any alcoholic beverages prior to or during the outing
• Know your surroundings, like weather, water conditions and other vessels, to help you react to any potential dangers in a timely manner.
• Be aware of your fuel levels and add accordingly
• Ensure all lights are functioning and in place.
• Review the vessel’s controls, the location of personal flotation devices and location of fire extinguishers with your passengers.
• Share your float plan with a friend or relative. Be sure to include your destination and expected return time. Having a good time while out on the water includes getting everyone back to shore safely.
Awareness of the necessary precautions and preventive measures can assist in ensuring maximum safety! Sources:
http://www.uscgboating.org/library/accident-statistics/Recreational-Boating-Statistics-2014.pdf