CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Friday kicks off National Safe Boating Week, which runs through May 30.
Over the week, U.S. Coast Guard and S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) crews will be patrolling the waterways and conducting boat safety checks.
The U.S. Coast Guard offered the following tips to remain safe while out on the water:
- Keep life jackets handy: There should be at least enough life jackets for every person on the boat. The U.S. Coast Guard suggests that boaters under 12 years old wear them at all times.
- Boat sober: Boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal.
- Have a float plan: A ‘float plan’ should include where you are going, an estimated return time, a description of your boat, and a list of who will be on the boat. It should be given to a friend or family member.
- Have a marine radio: The U.S. Coast Guard says that “a VHF-FM radio set to channel 16 is the best method of communication while on the water.”
- Have an EPIRB: An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) “is a device designed to transmit a distress signal to emergency responders through a satellite system.”
- Check the weather: Before setting out, check the tides, currents, and winds. Also check the forecast for storms or severe weather.
- Ask the Captain: If you are chartering a boat, make sure the captain has merchant mariner credentials.
The U.S. Coast Guard has a free app to help boaters ensure their trips are safe.