Coast Guard reminding boaters to stay safe this Labor Day weekend 

Posted at 9:41 AM, Aug 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-31 16:24:05-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The U.S. Coast Guard 5th District is reminding folks to stay safe if they plan to head out on the water this Labor Day weekend.

The Labor Day Holiday is marked by many as the unofficial end to summer, which can increase the number of people on the water, and also increase the dangers.

The Coast Guard says the operator of a vessel should always remain sober and everyone should have life jackets.

"Wear a life jacket. Simply wearing a life jacket can certainly help someone. Sometimes safety is just right around the corner and if you had a life jacket on you could have had a different outcome," Petty Officer Rachel Davis, Operations Unit for Sector Hampton Roads explained.

"Accidents happen and people can’t get to the life jackets. You know boats sink. You could be going along and the steering cable breaks, that would put the boat in a hard turn, people would fall over the side. If you don’t have your life jacket, you’re in trouble," Bill Hawver, Division 5 Commander for the Coast Guard Auxiliary added.

The Coast Guard offers the following recreational boating safety reminders:

Accident Reporting

The U.S. Coast Guard hopes that you’re never involved in a boating accident.  But if you are Federal Law requires that you file an accident report.

Boater Education

Errors account for 70 percent of boating accidents.  Learn the rules and your responsibilities before you boat.

Vessel Safety Check

Learn how a free vessel safety check can help you navigate through problem situations.

Life Jacket Wear/Wearing your Life Jacket

The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that life jackets could have saved the lives of over 80 percent of boating fatality victims.  Accidents can, and do happen with terrifying speed on the water. There's rarely time to reach stowed life jackets.

As the boat operator you are responsible for the safety of your passengers.  The U.S. Coast Guard challenges you and your passengers to wear your life jacket all the time while underway.

Going Paddling Know your limits!

Whether you are sea-kayaking, standup paddle-boarding, canoeing, or kayaking, check out these safety tips from the American Canoe Association.

File a Float Plan

Why should you take the time to prepare a float plan?  The answer is simple... there are just too many facts that need to be accurately remembered and ultimately conveyed in an emergency situation and it is a lot easier to find you if someone tells searchers when and where to look.

Carbon Monoxide

Educate yourself about this potentially lethal boating danger.

BUI Initiatives

The risk is high and the consequences severe know the dangers and avoid being a victim of BUI.

Propeller Safety

View the BEWARE Boat Propellers... A Hidden Danger.