Boating Safely Saves Lives
Spring is here and the water is warming up. With 1.3 million acres of recreational waters, Alabama is a boater’s paradise. Unfortunately, each year there are a few easily preventable boating deaths and injuries that occur. In 2009 there were 13 fatalities on Alabama waterways. Each person lost was a tragedy that could have been prevented with proper boating safety.
According to Lt. Erica Shipman with the education section of the Alabama Marine Police, wearing a life jacket is the best and easiest way to stay safe on the water. “Here in Alabama most of the boating fatalities are the result of capsizing or falling overboard where people actually end up in the water without a life jacket on,” Shipman said. “Most of these boating-related deaths could be prevented if the person had just worn their life jacket. Boaters need to make sure that the life jacket fits properly and that it’s in good condition, and above all they need to remember that it doesn’t work if they don't wear it.”
Here is a brief check list boaters should go through before hitting the water. Doing so could be a lifesaver.
- Boat Maintenance: Make sure your boat is in good working order before taking it out for the first time.
- Safety Equipment: Make sure all required safety equipment, including life jackets, are on the boat and in good working order
- Take a Boating Class: An informed boater is a safe boater, and in Alabama if you drive a boat you must have an operator's license.
- Courtesy on the Water: Remember the “golden rule” while on the water.
- Be a Weather Watcher: Keep an eye to the sky; it could save your life.
- Don't Drink and Drive: Just like on the highway, drinking and operating a boat is against the law; and on the water it can be even more dangerous.
For these and more boating safety tips and online boating courses visit the Boating Section
of the ADCNR Web site.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com