May 2008

Boaters Urged To Resolve To Be Safer In 2008

It may not be New Year’s Day, but boaters should consider making a few resolutions. And, these they can stick to! The Coast Guard Auxiliary is offering boaters and water enthusiasts four easy-to-follow tips for those who want to resolve to be safer boaters this year:

1. Always wear your life jacket: Statistics show time and time again that many boating fatalities could have been avoided, simply by wearing a life jacket. Wearing a life jacket while boating is like wearing a seat belt when driving or riding in a vehicle. Simply put, life jackets save lives! Resolve to wear one anytime you are on or near the water.

2. Be prepared - take a safe boating course: Most drivers were required to take some sort of driver's education course before getting their drivers license. Statistics show that 80 percent of those involved in boating fatalities never took a boating safety course.

Knowledge is power, and that knowledge may help you be "SEMPER PARATUS" (the Coast Guard's motto, which means "always ready") and may in fact, save your life! Resolve to make this year the year you improve your boating safety knowledge and skills.

 3. Get a free Vessel Safety Check: Boats that are properly equipped, in good operating condition, and are safe from hazards are less likely to be involved in a accidents and fatalities. Know before you go - request a free Vessel Safety Check by visiting, and clicking on "I WANT A VSC." Resolve to make sure your boat is a safe boat.

 4. Avoid alcohol while on or near the water: Approximately 40 percent of all boating fatalities involve the use of alcohol. If you are drunk and get into an accident on the water, but are fortunate enough to survive, you will likely suffer financial and social consequences, such as large fines (similar to driving under the influence), and the loss of automobile driving privileges.

But, alcohol doesn't just impact the operator; passengers who have been imbibing are 10 times more likely to fall overboard and drown. Simply put, water and alcohol don't mix! Resolve to be a sober boater.

 By following these four, easy-to-follow tips on how to stay safe on or around the water, the Coast Guard Auxiliary hope that you and your loved ones will enjoy 2008, and be around to make more New Year’s resolutions come next January.