HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - On Labor Day, many people spend their time on the water. But before you step on your boat, here are a few safety tips you need to remember.
“When it comes to boat accidents, 84% of boating accidents that have a fatality, drownings are the cause of death. The individual was not wearing a life jacket,” says Captain Patrick Levine with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.
“The state law requires that anybody 12 and under to have a life jacket on any time the vessel is underway. However, its recommended, and I highly recommended, that if you’re going to go on a vessel put a life jacket on,” said Levine. “If you’re not going to wear it, put it somewhere, where it’s readily accessible.“
Levine says operating a boat under the influence is against the law as it leads to most boating accidents.
“The leading contributing factors when it comes to a boating accident revolves around alcohol,” Levine said. “You know it’s illegal to operate a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs and, statistically speaking, it’s the number one contributor to boating accidents.”
One way to be prepared for the water is to know your vessel and the area you’ll be.
“Know the boat area that you are going out in. Know your vessel, know your boat, know the rules of the road and the age to navigation, and it could save your life,” Levine explained.
Levine says to keep your vessel safety equipment updated, like air horns and fire extinguishers and flares, and check to make sure everything works properly before going out on the water.