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National Safety Boating - May 19-25, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Saturday, May, 19 2012 Nature: National Safety Boating Campaign For National Safe Boating Week - May 19-25, 2012 DNREC Boating Safety Office urges good safety practices DOVER (May 19, 2012) – With the 2012 summer season making its debut next weekend and plenty of good weather ahead, many boaters will be heading out on the water. As they do, the DNREC Office of Boating Safety encourages them to remember to practice safe boating, not just over Memorial Day weekend – but throughout the year. “Delaware consistently has one of the lowest boating accident rates in the country. Last year, we had two boating-related fatalities and 11 reportable boating accidents. We’d like to see those numbers go down,” said Sgt. Greg Rhodes, the Boating Safety Office’s boating education specialist. “Though some accidents are unavoidable, we need everyone on our waterways to be alert, use common sense and avoid actions that will put themselves, their passengers and other boaters at risk.” To date this year in Delaware, four boating accidents have been reported, with two fatalities. In both cases, the victims were not wearing life jackets, Sgt. Rhodes noted – a simple precaution that might have prevented tragedy. Statistics support the vital role of wearing life jackets in keeping boaters safe. According to U.S. Coast Guard data, nearly three-quarters of all boating fatalities nationwide in 2011 were drowning victims – and more than 80 percent of them were not wearing life jackets. “Boating accidents can happen very fast – and there’s no time to reach for a stowed life jacket and put it on. Like seatbelts in automobiles, we know without question that life jackets save lives,” Sgt. Rhodes said. “Today’s life jackets are also more effective, more comfortable and even more fashionable than in the past, so there’s simply no reason not to use them.” “In addition, Delaware law requires that children age 12 and younger wear a life jacket while underway in any vessel on Delaware waters,” he said. “Though life jackets are not legally required for adults, they should also wear them, especially anyone with limited swimming skills.” Recent statistics from the Coast Guard show the top five primary contributing factors for boating accidents are careless/reckless operation, operator inattention, no proper lookout, operator inexperience and passenger/skier behavior. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents and was listed as the leading factor in 16 percent of the 758 boating-related fatalities reported nationwide in 2011. “Drinking while boating is a choice. The best way to minimize the risk of an accident is to make the wise choice – don’t drink and boat,” said Sgt. Rhodes, noting that boaters should plan ahead to have a non-drinking designated boat operator aboard if alcohol is being consumed. While it is not illegal for recreational boat operators to consume alcohol, the same blood alcohol limit used to measure intoxication in automobile drivers applies to boat operators: 0.08 or above is legally intoxicated. Sgt. Rhodes also noted that boat operators found to be at or over the limit face fines and potential jail time, as well as putting themselves and their passengers at risk. Taking a boating safety course can also improve your skills and reduce the chances of an accident. Coast Guard statistics show that where instructional data was available, 85 percent of reported fatalities occurred on boats where the operator had not received boating safety instruction. Delaware’s Office of Boating Safety provides volunteer instructors to private and non-profit organizations, schools, clubs and to the public to educate boaters on skills and seamanship and to encourage them to be safe, knowledgeable and responsible. Courses are offered free of charge, including materials and educational aids. Under Delaware law, all persons born on or after Jan. 1, 1978 must successfully complete a boating safety course in order to operate a boat in Delaware waters, including personal watercraft. “We recommend that everyone who is going to operate a boat in Delaware waters take a safety course first, regardless of their age,” Sgt. Rhodes said. For more information on Delaware’s boating safety education courses, please visit or contact Sgt. Greg Rhodes at 302-739-9913 or email [email protected] Additional information may be available the following websites: • WGMD Radio 92.7 – • National Safe Boating Week – May 19 thru 25, 2012starts this weekend Hundreds of boaters will be hitting the waters in Delaware next weekend for the upcoming summer season. With that in mind, DNREC’s Boating Safety Office is reminding boaters of some basic safety tips to ensure that their trips on the water end only with good memories, and not in tragedy. Boaters are asked to be alert at all times, and put a life jacket on everyone on board. State law requires children ages 12 and under to wear life jackets while a vessel is underway. Adults are encouraged to wear life jackets, as is anyone with limited swimming skills. Both people who’ve died in boating accidents in Delaware so far this year weren’t wearing life jackets. Alcohol was listed as the leading factor in 16 percent of the more than 750 boating accidents across the country last year. In Delaware, a blood alcohol level of .08 is considered legally intoxicated, just like for automobile drivers.

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