Each summer, the parade of recreational boating fatalities continues week after week.   KYW’s Jay Lloyd, a US Coast Guard veteran and longtime boat owner, has some tips that you won’t find in the safety manuals.

By Jay Lloyd

When you go off for a summer spin at the shore, on a lake or a bay, it should be fun.  But fun seekers too often make unfortunate assumptions — assuming that the boat owner and everyone else knows what they’re doing, that the boat isn’t overloaded, and that there are enough life jackets to go around.

But rarely does the casual guest to a boat trip make a safety check.   That’s too bad.  Here are a few things to look for.

First, it’s a good idea to be aware of the operator’s experience and ability.  Has he or she briefed guests on safety procedures?  Do you see a marine radio in the cockpit or on the bridge?  Can you see where the life jackets are stored?

And, just as important, is the boat operator wearing a life jacket?  If he (or she) goes over the side, could you run the boat?

And a major red flag: has a large supply of beer and booze been loaded on board, indicating it might be consumed while under way?

If you have questions but still decide to go, find out where your life jacket is stored, get it, and keep it with you.  Collisions often happen without much warning.

Have a fun and safe time on the water!


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