MEMORIAL DAY SAFE BOATING

NEW YORK- Coast Guard crews throughout the region have been busy during the start of the recreational boating season this weekend assisting boaters in distress and urging the boating public to be safe on the water.

On Sunday the Coast Guard medevaced a boater who got a fishing hook stuck in his leg three miles south of Sandy Hook, N.J. And six people were rescued Saturday by a Good Samaritan from a partially submerged recreational boat after it was overtaken by strong currents in the Hell Gate area of the East River.

All the boaters were reported to be in good physical condition after the rescue.

The Coast Guard recommends that all recreational boaters wear life jackets, especially children and those who are weaker swimmers. Under Federal Law all children under the age of 13 are required to wear a properly fitting life jacket. Life jackets can be the determining factor between life and death in many accidents. Statistics indicate that 87 percent of all boaters who drowned in 2005 were not wearing a life jacket.

Furthermore, boating while under the influence of alcohol is not only unsafe but also illegal. Alcohol was present and either a direct or indirect contributing factor in about 25 percent of all boating fatalities recorded in 2005.

The Coast Guard continues to impress upon the boating public the importance of having a free vessel safety inspection, outfitting their vessel with multiple signaling devices, and filing a float plan to tell others where they will be boating and fishing.

Safe boating is everyone’s responsibility and a good way to start is by taking a boating safety class before going out on the water. Statistics show that operator carelessness, excessive speed, inexperience and recklessness are some of the leading causes in boating accidents. About 70 percent of fatalities are caused by operators that haven’t taken a boating safety course.

For information on Boating Safety Courses near you, please visit www.uscgboating.org/safety/courses.htm or call the Boating Safety Course line, 1-800-336-Boat.

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