Fourth of July is one of the year’s most popular days for boating coast to coast. Fishermen, pleasure boaters soaking in the sunshine, jet skiers and water sport enthusiasts all look to carve out their own piece of summer on the water this day. Inevitably, accidents occur and injuries happen when these water goers converge. FELL Marine is offering several safety tips to keep all of us safe on this national holiday.
According to law enforcement agencies, the Fourth of July sees a spike in water accidents nationwide and boat operators need to be aware why this happens – and how they can help keep people safe. The contributing factors to these accidents come primary from the following: improper lookouts for skiers, operator inattention, operator inexperience, excessive speed, machinery failure and alcohol use.
How can we avoid injuries and death when these accidents occur?
FELL Marine has been in the market of boating safety for several years, starting with the launch of the MOB+, our wireless engine kill switch (www.fellmarine.com). Here are a few tips to make this year’s Fourth of July holiday safer:
1) Wear your boat’s engine kill switch when your combustible engine is operating. When the engine is running, accidents can occur. Even if you are warming up your boat or idling next to the dock, the operator should be at the helm and tethered with an engine kill switch. The MOB+ from FELL Marine makes this all more convenient, by allowing the operator to move about the boat while having their engine kill switch connected wirelessly.
2) Wear a life jacket at all times when boating!
3) Make sure your boat has all the needed safety equipment on board before you leave the launch or dock. Discover Boating has a great Pre-Departure checklist, which you can find here: http://www.discoverboating.com/owning/maintenance/departure.aspx
4) Ensure all who operate your boat are experienced and licensed. The holiday is not the time to be training a new operator. Junior/novice operators may see many challenging situations for which they are unprepared on busy boat traffic days like the Fourth of July.
5) Avoid using alcohol, drugs or other substances which can impact your ability to operate your boat. Impaired operation leads to accidents and poor judgment.
6) Obey all “hazard” area warnings and local water laws. Hazard areas are in place to help boaters avoid rocks, trees, sandbars and manmade features that will cause your boat to be damaged and could lead to an accident. If you don’t know a body of water, slower is better. Use your electronics as a guide but not as truth: objects shift and water levels vary. Water laws differ from state to state but a combination of common sense and knowing wakes zones and speed limits plus boundaries for motorized boats will keep swimmers, snorkelers and divers safe. Motorized boats should always yield non-motorized vessels (kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, etc.) and people in the water.
7) When operating at night, in the early morning, or early evening, ensure you have your running lights on. You need to be seen to be safe.