Coast Guard stresses boating safety following busy weekend

Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium File Photo

Coast Guard Station Cape Charles 45-foot Response Boat-Medium File Photo

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard is urging boaters to prioritize preparedness and safety this summer following a busy holiday weekend throughout the Mid-Atlantic region’s waterways.

Over the July 4th weekend, watchstanders at the Fifth Coast Guard District’s command centers received 44 distress calls that resulted in Coast Guard members assisting the lives of 55 people.

Many of the calls for help were from people aboard disabled, grounded or capsized vessels. Other distress notifications were for medical emergencies, boaters beset by heavy weather, and reported fires.

Additionally, Coast Guard enforcement teams from Station Cape Charles and Station Little Creek each terminated the voyage of an intoxicated boat operator on Virginia waterways.

Alcohol is a significant contributing factor in boating deaths, and its effects are compounded by water movement, exposure to the elements, and dynamic operating conditions. People operating vessels under the influence of alcohol, drugs or impairing medication pose a serious threat to anyone else aboard or on the waterway.

Boating safety precautions are essential for all boaters, whether you are fishing, sailing, kayaking, or motoring. Everyone is urged to take a boating safety class, have a reliable means of communication, and to always wear a life jacket to protect yourself and your loved ones.

To find a boating safety class near you, get a free vessel safety exam, or learn more about boating safely, please visit

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