WEST PALM BEACH -- During the Labor Day holiday, the Drowning Prevention Coalition (DPC) of Palm Beach County encourages all recreational boaters to follow safe boating and water smart practices. Don’t become a statistic. Use the following water safety recommendations while recreational boating.
• Wear a life jacket. Make sure everyone is wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
• Never boat under the influence. A BUI is involved in one-third of all recreational boating fatalities.
• Check equipment. Make sure you have and know how to use all essential equipment.
• File a float plan. Let family and friends know where you’re going and when you will return.
• Use an engine cutoff device. An engine cutoff device is a proven safety device to stop the boat’s engine should the operator unexpectedly fall overboard.
• Watch the weather. Always check the forecast before departing and frequently during your excursion.
• Know what’s going on around you at all times. A quarter of all reported boating accidents in 2019 were caused by operator inattention or improper lookout.
• Know where you’re going and travel at safe speeds. Familiarize yourself with local boating speed zones, and always travel at a safe speed.
• Keep in touch. Cell phones, satellite phones, Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or personal locator beacon, and VHF radios can all be important devices in an emergency.
• Remember social distancing. Stay six feet apart, wash your hands frequently, and wear your mask until you’re out on the water away from others.
Providing supervision, never swimming alone, and always wearing a life jacket are primary factors in trying to prevent boating related injuries. Enjoy the holiday, but remember, pay attention to drowning prevention!
For more information on water safety lessons and water safety/drowning prevention education, please visit the DPC website at www.pbcgov.org/dpc or call 561-616-7068. The coalition is funded by the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners and the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County and managed by Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.