The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Sheriff's Corner--National Boating Safety Week

 


May 22-25 is National Boating Safety Week this year. This also coincides with another fishing season and loads of people will be on or near the water. This is the time to remind people of things that are necessary to maximize your security on our waterways.

Always wear a life jacket. State law requires all vessels including canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards have one Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person onboard. All children age 12 and under are required to wear one at all times.

Bring communication devices. Boaters should carry two forms of communication that will work when wet, such as a whistle, waterproofed cell-phone or VHF marine radio. They greatly increase the chance of being located during an emergency. Another suggestion is to carry a flare or air horn to alert others in an emergency.

Avoid alcohol and drugs. Operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs including marijuana is not only unsafe but is illegal. Boaters should always designate a sober skipper.

Check and understand the weather. Boaters should check the weather before and during their boating excursion and keep an eye on current conditions and forecasts. Check wind and wave forecasts and tide and current conditions. Heed any warnings and avoid navigating in those areas. National Weather Service (NOAA Weather Radio) broadcasts can be found on marine band and stand alone weather radios.

Protect against cold-water shock. Falling into water under 60 degrees is dangerous, and many of Washington's waters remain below 60 degrees all year to include lakes and rivers, even during hot weather. Although hypothermia is a danger, the biggest risk is cold-water shock which occurs in the first stage of immersion. Boaters need to take caution and be prepared by always wearing a life jacket.

Schedule a vessel safety check. The Wahkiakum County Sheriff's Office has trained certified vessel examiners who will perform a free "vessel safety check." These checks are conducted at a boat ramp, dockside or at other pre-determined locations and take only 15-30 minutes. There is no charge and consequences for not passing. They are conducted for your safety and educational purposes. The deputy will provide a written report on how to correct any discrepancies. Boats passing the safety check receive a decal indicating the boat is in full compliance with federal and state boating laws.

For more water safety information please visit: http://www.coldwatersafety.org

Please be safe in your water adventures this year and know all your limitations. Remind loved ones of these safety tips and keep your family safe as well. Happy fishing, swimming, and boating!

 

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