Monday, May 6, 2013

Spotlight on Boating Safety

With abundant sunshine and the opening day of boating season this past weekend, the Tacoma Fire Department would like to remind all boaters of measures they can take to ensure a safe boating season.

Obtain a Washington State Boater Education Card
Who needs the card?  All boaters 50 years of age and under operating a boat or personal watercraft of 15 hp or greater.

Wear a lifejacket! 
The U.S. Coast guard reports that in 2011, 533 of the 758 boating fatalities resulted from drowning, with 84 percent of the drowning victims not reported as wearing a life jacket. According to the Boating in Washington Handbook, children 12 years old and younger must wear a USCG-approved life jacket at all times when underway in a vessel less than 19 feet in length, unless in a fully enclosed area.

Designate a sober driver.BUI (boating under the influence). It shall be a violation for a person to operate a vessel while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug. RCW 79A.60.040.

According to the U.S. Coast guard, operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive  speed and alcohol are the top five contributing factors for boating accidents.