Coast Guard urges people to avoid traps that lead to boating accidents

Annual warnings and tips for National Safe Boating Week

Paul Kurtz
May 23, 2018 - 2:16 pm
The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a list of tips and warnings for National Safe Boating Week.

Paul Kurtz-KYW Newsradio

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As we get ready to greet the summer of 2018, the Coast Guard is observing National Safe Boating Week by issuing its annual warnings and safety tips. 

Awareness is key to avoiding disaster, but Philadelphia Coast Guard Station Sr. Chief Nathan Purinton says it's easy for recreational boaters to develop a false sense of security out there on the open water. 

"When something does happen, it happens very fast," Purinton said. "It's not uncommon for boats to collide, for a boater not to be paying particular attention to where they are on the water, and they hit an underwater shoal or an object in the water, and next they know someone's in the water."

Which is why he is urging boaters to do a few things: Wear life jackets at all times; make sure to have a functioning VHF marine radio; and stay sober behind the wheel. 

"Everybody likes to have a good time, we understand that," Purinton said, "but our goal is safety. So if you operating a boat, don't drink."

Children 13 and under are required by law to wear life jackets. Purinton says the fit should be snug but recommends a flotation device behind the head or "the old horse-collar-style life jackets that we all grew up with."

Boaters in distress can contact the Coast Guard on Channel 16.

With the Tall Ships coming in this weekend the Coast Guard will be setting up an exclusion zone. Recreational boaters will not be allowed access to the Delaware between the USS New Jersey and Benjamin  Franklin Bridge.