National Safe Boater Week Kicked Off Monday

This is National Safe Boating Week and the U.S. Coast Guard is reminding everyone who plans to be out on the water this week and over the July 4th weekend to have a designated boater.

The Safe Boating Campaign is a worldwide effort focused on responsible boating.

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, a partner of the Safe Boating Campaign, in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard and law enforcement agencies nationwide, is coordinating the annual National Operation Dry Water three-day weekend from Friday, July 3 to Sunday, July 5.

“The July 4 holiday is around the corner, and unfortunately has become known for drinking and boating, and deadly accidents,” said Peg Phillips, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council, and lead organization for the Safe Boating Campaign.

“Operating a boat – or even being a passenger – is incredibly risky while under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” continued Phillips. “Drunken passengers can easily fall overboard, swim near the propeller, lean over the side, or stand up in small boats causing the boat to capsize.”

The side effects of alcohol or drug use, such as impaired judgment, reduced balance and poor coordination, are magnified while boating, due to environmental conditions from the sun, wind and boat motion.

“Impairment can be even more dangerous for boaters, since most have less experience and confidence operating a boat than they do driving a car,” said Yvonne Pentz, communications director of the National Safe Boating Council. “Boaters should also always wear a life jacket, similar to wearing a seat belt when you’re in a vehicle.”

Alcohol consumption also increases the likelihood that individuals will engage in other risky behaviors such as swimming or boating without a life jacket.

In Georgia, life jackets are required for all boat passengers under the age of 13.

And anyone caught boating under the influence will automatically be arrested and taken to jail.