August 4th is National Coast Guard day, celebrating 222 years of brave men and women protecting our waters. The Coast Guard responds to any water-related emergencies and is an important resource for boating safety.
Here are some tips to follow to keep yourself safe when boating, and hopefully never have to call the Coast Guard!
- Before heading out, make sure your vessel is seaworthy and has all the necessary safety equipment like life vests, fire extinguishers, radio, and medical kits.
- Check the weather for before, during and after your trip to make sure there are no storms brewing nearby that could cause poor water conditions.
- Plan your route and make sure someone on land knows where you will be located in the event you lose GPS or radio communication.
- Make sure everyone on board is trained for basic boat safety and conduct to avoid horseplay and other hazards.
- Prepare for an emergency with extra food, water, and supplies like sunscreen and extra medications in the event you become stranded.
- Stay in contact with the Coast Guard via radio at all times, if anything seems hazardous inform them immediately so they have a record of your location and condition should you lose communication.
Remember that the Coast Guard is always there to help answer your questions and respond to issues while you are on the water, whether it’s on an inland lake or river, or out in the Atlantic Ocean. By preparing for the worst and hoping for the best you can enjoy a fun day on the water without worrying about a serious boating accident!