Safe on the water

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on May 08, 2013 - 01:42 PM

Photo: Active duty members of the U.S. Coast Guard from Station Milford Haven in Mathews practiced maneuvers Monday morning to rescue a stranded boater. Members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary that support Station Milford Haven served as the distressed boat. Above, active duty members attach a tow line to the auxiliary’s boat. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

Active duty members of the U.S. Coast Guard from Station Milford Haven in Mathews practiced maneuvers Monday morning to rescue a stranded boater. Members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary that support Station Milford Haven served as the distressed boat. Above, active duty members attach a tow line to the auxiliary’s boat. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

Photo: U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 64, Gloucester, held a short ceremony Monday to promote safe boating, with an emphasis on boaters wearing life jackets both on open waters and on lakes such as at Beaverdam Park. Shown near the state boat ramp at Gloucester Point Beach are, from left, Patrick Cooney, Chris Smith (Gloucester Parks and Recreation), Bill Harris, Tom Arnold, Ralph W. Johnson, Russell Wuesterfeld and Harry Borbe. Photo by Bill Nachman

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 64, Gloucester, held a short ceremony Monday to promote safe boating, with an emphasis on boaters wearing life jackets both on open waters and on lakes such as at Beaverdam Park. Shown near the state boat ramp at Gloucester Point Beach are, from left, Patrick Cooney, Chris Smith (Gloucester Parks and Recreation), Bill Harris, Tom Arnold, Ralph W. Johnson, Russell Wuesterfeld and Harry Borbe. Photo by Bill Nachman

The arrival of warmer weather inevitably brings with it the familiar hum of outboard motors as residents and visitors flock to local waterways to take advantage of the many boating opportunities that Gloucester and Mathews counties offer.

But the start of boating season also brings with it dangers, and to insure that everyone’s trip is both pleasurable and safe, members of local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary flotillas are working hard to teach the public the boater’s rules of the road and check to see if they have the proper safety equipment.

This activity will be stepping up the week of May 18-24, which is being observed as National Safe Boating Week, as well as the busy Memorial Day weekend that follows, marking the unofficial start of the boating season.

The main theme the USCG emphasizes to boaters is making sure everyone on the vessel wears certified lifesaving devices. According to USCG boating statistics, out of 533 drowning deaths in 2011, in 415 of those deaths, individuals were not wearing a life jacket.

The number-one type of drowning is that from a motorboat, while the second most common drowning is from a canoe. Therefore, special emphasis has been made by Gloucester’s USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 64 to encourage safety vests be worn by those in Beaverdam Reservoir or other areas canoes or kayaks are widely used.