National Water Safety Month & Safe Boating Week
National Water Safety Month
May is National Water Safety Month and Southern Marin Fire District wants to ensure that every member of your family becomes water competent. This means being water smart, having swimming skills and knowing how to help others. With the safety resources from The American Red Cross, children and adults should learn to swim so they at least achieve the skills of water competency: be able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, change position, swim a distance and then get out of the water safely.
Layers of protection are essential to help prevent drowning. Plan ahead for aquatic activities:
- provide close and constant attention to children you are supervising in or near water;
- fence pools and spas with adequate barriers, including four-sided fencing;
- learn swimming and water survival skills;
- children, inexperienced swimmers, and all boaters should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets; and
- always swim in a lifeguarded area.
National Safe Boating Week May 22-28, 2021
It’s tempting to not wear a life jacket while on the water, especially on nice days. You want to get some sun, you think you’ll get too hot, or you think you’re a strong swimmer. But whether you’re going fishing or just enjoying a ride on the boat, there’s never an excuse to not wear a life jacket. Accidents happen in an instant. Make it a habit. Always wear a life jacket.
Safety on the water is everyone’s responsibility. Explore the ways you can get involved with the Safe Boating Campaign. Safety starts with you.
Boating Safety Tips:
· Wear a life jacket. No matter what activity you have planned on the water, always remember to wear a life jacket every time you are on the water. Accidents on the water can happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket. Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved, appropriate for your water activity and fits properly. A life jacket that is too large or too small can cause different situational problems.
· Know state boating laws. Rules and laws can differ from state to state and violations can result in ticketing, fines or jail time.
· Take a boating safety course. Learn valuable tips that can help save your life in unexpected situations by taking a NASBLA (National Association of Boating Law Administrators) approved boating safety course. Many courses are online, and will save you money on your boat insurance. There are many items that need to be checked and rechecked on any boat. Schedule a Vessel Safety Check with your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons before you hit the water. Every Vessel Safety Check is conducted 100 percent free of charge.
· Make sure your boat is prepared.
· Be sure to know your boat’s capacity. If you have too much on your boat, the boat may become unstable and capsize.
· Check the weather, including the water temperature. Know the latest marine weather forecast prior to going out, and keep a regular check for changing conditions.
· Dress properly. Always dress for the weather, wearing layers if cooler weather, and bring an extra set of clothes in case you get wet.
· Always file a float plan. File a float plan with someone you trust that includes details about the trip, boat, persons, towing or trailer vehicle, communication equipment and emergency contacts. Find out more at floatplancentral.org.
· Always follow navigation rules. Know the “Rules of the Road” such as operator’s responsibility, maintaining a proper lookout, safe speed, crossing, meeting head-on and overtaking situations. Know what’s going on around you at all times, and always travel at safe speeds for the environment. Find out more at boatoncourse.com.
· Don’t drink while you boat. Where the primary cause was known, alcohol was listed as a leading factor in boating-related deaths. Find out more at operationdrywater.org.
· Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Gasoline-powered engines on boats, including onboard generators, produce carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless and odorless gas that can poison or kill someone who breathes too much of it. Be sure to install and maintain a working CO detector, never block exhaust outlets, and always dock, beach or anchor at least 20 feet away from the nearest boat that is running a generator or engine.
· Keep in touch. Communication devices can be the most important piece of emergency equipment on board a vessel, especially in case of emergency. Be sure to have at least two communication devices that work when wet, such as satellite phones, emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB), VHF radios and personal locator beacons (PLB). Cell phones are not reliable in an emergency situation.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
About The Safe Boating Campaign:
The Safe Boating Campaign is led by the National Safe Boating Council, a leading catalyst for recreational boating safety through education, outreach and training, with support from boating safety advocates round the world. The campaign offers educational information and free resources to support local boating safety outreach efforts. It is produced under a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.