Houston area Coast Guard joins Operation Safe and Sound 2 for Labor Day

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HOUSTON — The Coast Guard is joining with Houston and Galveston based sheriff, police, fire and volunteer personnel to keep people safe on the water this Labor Day weekend under Operation Safe and Sound 2.

Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston active duty and auxiliary personnel will be conducting operations on portions of the Gulf Coast from West Louisiana to Freeport, Texas, aimed at reducing accidents and enhancing maritime safety.

The Coast Guard urges the public to be cautious and remain alert while enjoying local beaches and waterways over the Labor Day weekend, and will have law enforcement and auxiliary units patrolling to provide assistance.

Over the last year the percentage of boating fatalities with alcohol listed as a contributing factor has decreased from 19 percent to 17 percent in the United States. Despite the decrease, Boating Under the Influence still accounts for a disproportional number of on-the-water deaths. In 2011 and 2012, alcohol was a contributing factor in just eight percent of boating accidents overall, but was a factor in 17 percent of boating fatalities.

The sea can be harsh and unforgiving. Eleven lives have been lost along the Gulf Coast in water recreation accidents this summer. The Coast Guard received notification in these cases and launched extensive search and rescue efforts but could not save the missing persons.

In an effort to prevent further loss, follow these safety tips regarding water sport recreation and swimming in open water:

  • Never operate a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Follow navigational safety rules
  • Maintain safe speeds, and be cautious of your boat’s wake
  • Only swim in designated areas and follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Never swim alone
  • If caught in a rip current, remain calm and don’t fight the current. Instead, swim parallel to the shore and swim towards the shore only after out of the current
  • Seek help if someone is caught in a rip current. Throw them something that floats or give them instructions on how to escape. Remember, many people drown while attempting to rescue someone else from a rip current.

 

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