Information was recently provided by the NC Wildlife Commission about boating fatalities in 2018. The bottom line number is striking! "A total of 35 people lost their lives due to boating accidents last year, the highest number of vessel-related fatalities since 1990. Twenty-nine of the victims were not wearing a life vest", according to NC Wildlife.
While we think awareness is up, it would seem too many believe it can't happen. As manufacturers work to make life jackets more wearable and look jazzy, someone near the water still needs to pick it up and wear it. We all know the time to put a life jacket on is not when you are in the water.
So what to do. It's got to be a rule and if you are the skipper of your boat, walk the talk and practice what you preach.
Some good rules to live by and remember include:
Wear a Coast Guard-approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD) or a life jacket at all times when boating or on a personal watercraft. The Coast Guard advises a properly fitted life jacket is snug, yet comfortable, will not move above the chin or ears when lifted by the shoulders.
Throw, don't go. Be prepared to throw a floatation device or use a pole/tree branch to reach someone struggling in the water. Never jump in to save someone because you too could be pulled under. Our Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 9-3 offers a Safe Boating Class. Look for their link and more water safety information at www.LakeGastonWaterSafetyCouncil.com.
Please be careful out there.
Lake Gaston Water Safety Council