Fun Events Bring Awareness to Safe Boating

The annual event, hosted by the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) serves as a fun, educational element just prior to National Safe Boating Week, May 20-26, in educating the boating public about the safety and comfort of life jackets has been a main focus of the North American Safe Boating Campaign. The Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day is Friday, with the goal of demonstrating how easy it is to wear a life jacket. Each year, on average, 700 people die in boating-related accidents, 8 out of every 10 victims were not wearing a life jacket. Nationally, alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents where the primary cause was known. In addition to legally required equipment, such as life jackets and fire extinguishers, always carry a first-aid kit, nautical charts and an anchor. Be sure to check that navigation lights work.

- File a float plan. Let them know when to expect you back. Also give them phone numbers for the local emergency dispatch center and U.S. Coast Guard in case you don't return on time.

Stay alert while boating as well. This is especially true when operating in crowded waterways, at night and when visibility is restricted. Coast Guard statistics for 2016 have not been released yet.

State regulation requires anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 operating a vessel powered by a 10-horsepower or greater motor to have completed an approved boating safety education course or otherwise be in compliance.

Wailoa Boat Ramp, Hilo - Saturday, May 20, and Sunday May 21, from 8 3 p.m. - Public information booth, vessel safety checks, and small commercial fishing vessel exams.

  • Larry Hoffman