ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Coast Guard crews along with federal, state and local partner agencies responded to numerous disabled, aground, disoriented and beset by weather vessels during Memorial Day weekend.
“Memorial Day weekend is always a busy weekend for the Coast Guard and our partner agencies,” said Lt. Christopher Rosen, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg command center chief. “A lot of mariners begin putting their boats in the water without ensuring they have received a free-vessel safety check and have the proper safety equipment. We responded to numerous cases this weekend and encourage mariners to take advantage of these free vessel checks the Auxiliary provides mariners.”
The Coast Guard would like to remind boaters of a few tips to keep safe on the water.
Download the Coast Guard Mobile app. The app helps boaters request a vessel safety check, file a float plan, check local weather, call the Coast Guard or 911 in an emergency situation, as well as shows required safety equipment mariners will need aboard thier vessel.
Make sure all equipment is in good working order prior to leaving the dock. Being educated about safe boating could save a life. Most boating fatalities occur on boats where the operator had not completed a boating safety education course. Courses cover many aspects of boating safety, from boat handling to reading the weather.
Make sure a friend or relative knows your float plan. A float plan states where you are going and how many people are aboard your vessel. It also gives a vessel description, your destination and what time you expect to arrive. If you are delayed for some reason, make sure you let someone know.
Make certain to check the local weather prior to departing the dock. Weather can change very rapidly and boaters should keep a watchful eye on the forecasted conditions. With hurricane season approaching, boaters are reminded to monitor winds, currents and tides throughout their trip.
Wear your life jacket. More than 84 percent of boaters who drown were not wearing their life jackets. In an emergency there might not be enough time to put one on, so wearing one at all times may save your life.
For more information on vessel safety checks click here.