Friday, July 27, 2007
Don't Be a Victim: Boat Safety
There is nothing like a day on the water to really enjoy living in South Florida. But we all know boating accidents do happen. Here are tips on how to stay safe in tonight's Don't be a Victim.
WSVN -- In South Florida, life is definitely better on the water, and there is a boat for every taste: fast and fancy or small and practical, and, with more and more out there, these waters can be dangerous.
Dr. Daniel Bailey: "Saw the boat coming fast. It was on plane. When a boat is on plane it means it is going fast."
Dr. Daniel Baily says, looking at his boat, he knows he's lucky to be alive. Accidents like these are far too common. Last year alone 69 people died at sea.
Sgt. Javier Bruzos and Officer William Barrow of Coral Gables Police say one of the biggest causes of boating accidents, is lack of knowledge.
Officer William Barrow: "It's not the same as driving a car. It has no breaks. It's like having a road that's constantly moving out from right underneath you at all times."
And, even though you don't need a license to operate a recreational boat, it doesn't mean that you don't need education.
Officer William Barrow: "We recommend people to take a more in depth class. For example, something for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or the U.S. Power Squad which teaches them about navigation, proper boat operation, safe boat operation."
But, before you get in the water, there are some simple rules to follow. First, make sure you have a float plan.
Sgt. Javier Bruzos: "Let someone, who is not going on your trip with you, know where are you going, who are you going with, how long the trip will take and what time you will be back."
Next, make sure you have all the right safety gear. First and foremost: life jackets.
Sgt. Javier Bruzos: "Very important, make sure that you have one life jacket for every person that is on board."
Keep in mind, kids under six have to wear them all the time. Then, hope for the best but prepare for the worst-- be ready for a fire.
Sgt. Javier Bruzos: "Fire extinguishers are very, very important."
Be ready to sink. You should carry flare guns for day and night. You should also be able to alert other boaters.
Sgt. Javier Bruzos: "A horn, something that could emit an audible signal."
In the event that you do run into trouble and need to call for help, knowing what channel to use on your marine radio can ultimately save your life.
Sgt. Javier Bruzos: "The easiest and most reliable way: on marine band VHF channel 16. Coast Guard and all the law enforcement agencies monitor this channel 24 hours a day."
If it's a life threatening emergency:
Sgt. Javier Bruzos: "You would hail May-Day three times, 'May-Day, May-Day, May-Day' and the name of your vessel, and, when you get a response, it's very important that as soon as possible you give your location and what the nature of the distress is."
Many accidents happen in and near marinas and boat launches, so, keep this in mind, the red means you stay to the right of the waterway.
Sgt. Javier Bruzos: "When you are coming back into port, red on your right-hand side."
And hopefully, by following these simple rules, you will make it back to land safely.
The last and most important rule, no alcohol if you are operating the vessel.