Water Sports Foundation offers seven safety tips for sharing waterways with inexperienced boaters
ORLANDO, Fla., June 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Millions of boaters are expected to head out on the water this Fourth of July weekend, including more than 830,000 first time boat buyers who purchased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The increase in crowds coupled with the number of inexperienced new boaters has caught the attention of the Water Sports Foundation.
"While we are pleased to welcome so many new boaters to the water, we believe it is critical to share important boating safety tips that we know will help reduce incidents and save lives this busy holiday weekend," said Water Sports Foundation Executive Director Jim Emmons. "We’re anticipating a major wave of inexperienced boaters on the water this Fourth of July holiday and we need everyone – our experienced boaters and our newcomers alike – to plan accordingly and be well prepared."
The Fourth of July weekend traditionally offers a wealth of alluring activities for boaters including cruising to popular gathering spots with family and friends, rafting up or forming flotillas of multiple boats, dropping anchor to swim, grilling favorite foods and of course, capping the festivities with spectacular fireworks shows.
While these activities are longtime mainstays of the boating lifestyle, Emmons says new boaters need to be educated and reminded to avoid potentially hazardous situations. Common mistakes include failing to carry and wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets; overloading the boat; passengers standing or moving while the boat is underway; drinking alcohol; launching fireworks from the boat; and ignoring safe boating operations while trying to avoid long lines at the boat ramp after the fireworks show.
The Water Sports Foundation shares seven tips to maximize boating fun and safety this Fourth of July weekend, and beyond:
1. Important Basics: Plan Ahead & Be Prepared
- Before launching the boat, conduct a thorough inspection of the vessel and trailer. The local Coast Guard auxiliary or Power Squadron may offer free vessel safety checks.
- Conduct a pre-departure check to make sure all required safety equipment is on board and operational.
- Ensure U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets are available for the weight and size of every passenger, especially youngsters. Life jackets save lives!
- Check current weather conditions and forecast and plan accordingly.
- NEVER overload your boat. Check the vessel capacity plate and comply with all weight mandates.
- For boats 26′ or smaller, comply with the new federal law requiring boat operators to wear and engage Emergency Cut-Off Switch (ECOS). This safety lanyard shuts off the engine if the operator falls overboard.
- Be sure you have the correct number of fire extinguishers onboard and that they are fully charged, and easily accessible. Check expiration date to ensure they fall within newly mandated federal requirements.
- Make sure VHF radios, phones and EPIRB transponders work. Consider carrying a portable cell phone battery charger as back-up.
- Pack sunscreen, first-aid kit, basic toolkit and extra food and water.
To view the full release including tips #2 – #7 please click here: https://www.watersportsfoundation.com/hundreds-of-thousands-of-new-boaters-and-paddlers-expected-fourth-of-july-weekend/ .
About the Water Sports Foundation
Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., the Water Sports Foundation (WSF) is the non-profit educational arm of the Water Sports Industry Association (WSIA.net). The WSF National Public Relations Outreach including this press release is produced under a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. Journalists desiring free boating safety content, data, infographics, video, and still photography, a list of national boating safety experts should visit WSF’s National Boating Safety Media Center at www.watersportsfoundation.com/media/.
SOURCE Water Sports Foundation