Practice boating safety during July 4th celebrations

| 22 Feb 2012 | 08:53

The United States Coast Guard reminds all boaters of the three C’s of boating safety as we approach the July 4th holiday. Boaters should use caution when operating their vessel, be courteous to other boaters on the water, and use common sense on the water. All boaters should: Have a sober operator. Don’t operate a boat under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Alcohol and drugs affect judgment, vision, balance and coordination. The marine environment — motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray — accelerates a drinker’s impairment; and decreases coordination, judgment and reaction time. Wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket or personal floatation device at all times. The law requires you to have a PFD on-board for each passenger; the Coast Guard recommends all occupants wear a PFD at all times. The worse time to look for a PFD or life jacket is when you are already in distress. Have a marine-band radio. If you are in distress, you can reach the Coast Guard on marine band channel 16, the distress channel. Use of a cell phone could provide rescuers with a false location of your vessel. Have a float plan. File a float plan with someone who is not getting underway with you and stick to the plan. If you change plans, contact the person. A float plan assists responders in the search of an overdue boater that is in distress. Report any suspicious activity on the water to the U.S. Coast Guard or local marine authorities. “If you see something, say something.” “The Coast Guard will put extra emphasis on boating safety this Fourth of July holiday,” said Rear Adm. Peter V. Neffenger, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District. “I ask all boaters to help us prevent accidents, injuries and fatalities. Wear your life jacket and use courtesy and common sense on the water.”