NRP, Coast Guard and Partners to Kick Off National Safe Boating Week in AnnapolisWhen: Saturday, May 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Where: Annapolis City Dock, 1 Dock St, Annapolis Cost: Free Who: Open to the Public
The Maryland Natural Resources Police, the Coast Guard and the U.S. Power Squadrons will sponsor a National Safe Boating Week kick off event at the Annapolis City Dock. This event will feature exhibits, interactive booths, boater safety classes and no-risk vessel safety checks ─ all free to the public.
“In Maryland last year, 127 boating accidents resulted in 14 deaths and 79 people injured,” said NRP Col. George F. Johnson IV. “During a boating accident, the simple act of wearing a lifejacket can mean the difference between life and death. In an emergency, seconds count. You don’t always have time to reach for your lifejacket.”
The safety checks allow inspectors to suggest ways to bring a boat into compliance with regulations without reporting any violations found during the check. Inspectors also will provide safe boating tips and literature.
The Coast Guard and NRP urge the public to develop a precautionary safety and rescue plan before heading out, keep a close watch on children and non-swimmers, wear a lifejacket and have flotation devices on hand.
NRP reminds boaters and swimmers to:
- Always wear a lifejacket and have a flotation rescue device handy when out on the water. Quite simply, they save lives. All children under the age of 13 are required to wear a certified life jacket aboard a boat less than 21 feet long;
- Never boat or swim alone, or while impaired. The sun, wind and water can cause fatigue in boaters and swimmers. Alcohol use magnifies this fatigue, impairs judgment and can lead to accidents and death. Boat and swim safe, smart and sober;
- Check weather and tides before heading out. Anticipate changes and bring all craft ashore when rough weather threatens. Wait at least 30 minutes before resuming activities after the last incidence of thunder or lightning;
- Pay special attention to small children and always use safety devices on children or other individuals who cannot swim;
- Obey all warning signs that alert boaters to dangers and be aware of any surrounding signs or markers that indicate current water conditions; and
- Carry a cell phone and tell someone your detailed plans
- Have a VHF-FM radio while on the water. Although cell phones are a good backup, they can be unreliable due to gaps in coverage area and are reliant on batteries.
If an emergency occurs, immediately call 911 and remember to Reach, Throw, Row and Go:
REACH the person in trouble by extending a releasable item, such as a pole, line or rope to pull them to safety, but not by hand as the rescuer could quickly become another victim.
THROW an object that floats to the victim if they are unreachable. A life ring, lifejacket, cooler or plastic jug are suitable floating objects that can keep a troubled swimmer afloat until rescues arrive.
ROW to the victim, using a canoe or any other safe watercraft. The rescuer must wear a life jacket. Once the victim is nearby, a rope or paddle should be extended and used to tow the victim to shore if possible.
GO find help or yell to get other people’s attention and have someone call 911.
For more information on Maryland Boating Safety visit dnr.maryland.gov/boating/safety, and refer to the boating safety checklist before you go, available at dnr.state.md.us/boating/pdfs/md_req_equip.pdf.
National Safe Boating Week, May 17-23, is the official launch of the 2014 North American Safe Boating Campaign, a yearlong effort to promote safe and responsible boating and the value of voluntary lifejacket wear by recreational boaters through the national theme, Wear It!