Keith Connors

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National safe boating week reminders. With Memorial Day just around the corner and summer on its way, the Coast Guard is taking action to keep you safe while you’re out enjoying the water. Last year alone, there were a staggering 636 boating fatalities reported by the Coast Guard. Shockingly, 85% of those who drowned in boating incidents were not wearing life jackets.

To promote boating safety, USCG Auxiliary Captain Karen Miller conducted free vessel safety checks. Her goal was to ensure that boaters like Bob Smith can have a secure and enjoyable time on the water. Captain Miller looked for several key things during her safety checks, including life jackets, registration and numbering, navigation lights, ventilation, fire extinguishers, distress signals, battery cover, and connections.

Boating emergencies can happen unexpectedly, especially for us in Florida, where random weather events and high boating traffic increase the chances of mishaps. That’s why it’s not just smart but mandatory to have the necessary safety equipment on board. Flotilla Commander Stephan Bielawski emphasized the importance of knowing your safety gear and keeping it up to date, as it greatly increases your chances of survival in case of a mishap.

To further spread awareness and provide information to boaters in the community, the US Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-1 hosted an information booth at the West Marine Store in Clearwater. They were available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, offering answers to questions and distributing valuable resources.

As you prepare for your summer boating adventures, remember to prioritize safety. Wear your life jackets, ensure your boat is equipped with all the necessary safety gear, and stay informed about weather conditions and boating regulations. By taking these precautions, you can have a fun and worry-free time on the water. NewsChannel8