Coast Guard Urges Safety While Operating Personal Watercraft

LOS ANGELES – The Coast Guard reminds individuals to exercise safety and responsible practices while operating personal watercraft.

Sports such as paddle boarding and kayaking have become more popular and the Coast Guard has seen a rising trend in the number of individuals requiring assistance. Adherence to safety guidelines and understanding of the environment is vital to ensuring safety while operating independent personal watercraft.

Below are safety tips the Coast Guard recommends for all individuals who choose to participate in personal watercraft activities:

  • File an accurate and updated float plan with friends, family members and local marinas before heading out. The list should include the number of passengers aboard the vessel, destination and expected time of return.
  • Stay Informed – The public should be aware of weather conditions and monitor the progress and strength of storms through local television, radio and Internet. Check the current and expected weather and water conditions before heading out, and be aware that weather conditions can quickly change.
  • Wear life jackets while on the water.
  • Resist the temptation to paddle alone, always operate watercraft in a group or with a partner. This reduces risk to an individual in the event of an emergency.
  • Individuals need to understand their physical limitations and endurance. Paddling can be strenuous exercise, and paddlers should be physically fit and know techniques for personal safety, as well as how to rescue fellow paddlers.
  • If you or others are experiencing distress on the water, contact the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF-FM channel 16 immediately.

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