Tuesday, January 04, 2011

New Year's Resolution for Boaters

Can we reduce boating accidents in 2011? Can we reduce boating deaths? Can we be better boaters?
Wear one of these, please!

Yes we can.

The headline of a recent article on the topic of boating safety from Florida's Sun-Sentinel definitely raises eyebrows.
90% of those in Florida boating accidents never took safety course
The leading cause of death is drowning and could be averted by simply wearing a life jacket.
Here's a link to the full article, but doesn't the headline say it all? There is no arguing with the sub-title... most boating deaths are caused by drowning, and most victims were not wearing a PFD. The headline clearly assumes there is a direct relationship to boating accidents and whether those involved in the accidents took a boating safety course. While that point can be argued, why would anyone argue it? Wouldn't you rather err on the side of caution, and make our waterways safer for everyone else? Whether or not you agree with mandatory boating safety education, it is good to see the topic kept alive in the Florida press, especially after the record the state set in 2010 boating fatalities.

Let's make 2011 the year we reduce boating accidents and deaths by all being safer boaters. Here are a couple of tips to help make that happen.
  • Find a free boating safety course online in your state and study as hard as you did to get your driver's license, even if the law doesn't require it where you boat. 
  • Wear a life jacket all the time when you are boating. 
  • Don't drink and boat. 
  • Check your equipment, and make sure you have a VHF radio and an EPIRB if you are venturing offshore. 
If you haven't yet made a New Year's resolution, why not vow to have a safe and fun year of boating... and if the economy has kept you away from the water the past couple of years, we sincerely hope 2011 is the year you get back on the boat!