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Safe boating tips from the coast guard

If you're going boating in South Carolina this summer, it's very important to know how to stay safe on the water. The Coast Guard has to rescue many people every year, so they've put out some tips that can help.

First and foremost, they say that it's crucial for people to have and use their life jackets. In 2013, 75 percent of the deaths that happened while people were boating were linked to drowning as the main cause. Life jackets could have prevented many of these deaths, the Coast Guard says, keeping hundreds of people alive.

The Coast Guard also advised boaters to have fire extinguishers on boat. A fire on a boat can be tragic, especially when the boat is too far out for people to jump into the water and swim to safety.

On top of that, they said that sound devices could be very helpful. They said people should have whistles, air horns and things of this nature. These could be used to alert others of a problem if someone fell in or if a boat was damaged so that the radio no longer worked.

Finally, they stressed the necessity of really knowing the rules and regulations that go along with boating. These are easy to forget for people who just go out on the water once or twice a year. They said that knowing these basic regulations could improve boating safety dramatically, and that could mean that safety devices were not even needed.

One rule that was really stressed was not using a boat while under the influence of alcohol. This can lead to boat accidents and can make people more likely to drown if they fall overboard.

Those who are accused of boating under the influence, though, certainly have a right to a fair trial.

Source: wmbfnews.com, "Coast Guard tips to keep you safe while boating," Jenna DeAngelis, accessed July 23, 2015

Photo: "boats on lake murray" by Jelene Morris / CC BY

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