North Hempstead officials remind residents to follow boating safety tips for 2021 season

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Town of North Hempstead officials would like to remind residents of responsible boating practices for the 2021 season.

“Boater education is important in helping to prevent accidents and save lives,” said Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth. “By obtaining the required certificates in advance, and carefully following the rules of the water, you are not only protecting yourself and your family but other boaters as well.”

According to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division, “Coast Guard counted 4,168 accidents that involved 613 deaths, 2,559 injuries, and approximately $55 million in damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.”

These chilling numbers are an indication that boaters need to be aware of safety measures on all waterways including when boating in Town waterways.

Boating while intoxicated is not taken lightly and can lead to serious consequences. In New York State, you will be arrested for BWI for operating a boat or personal watercraft with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher. Just as with driving, alcohol affects your peripheral vision, night vision, judgment, coordination, balance, reaction time and ability to focus: all skills that are necessary to operate a watercraft.

To stay safe, boaters should carry the necessary boating information and certifications with them at all times. It is important to have the right safety gear and equipment before you get out on the water, such as a first aid kit, life jackets, and distress signals. It is also imperative for boaters to always be aware of the weather conditions, operate at a safe speed at all times, and avoid alcohol.

Safety Tips for Boating

Wear a life jacket every time you are out on the water. United States Coast Guard estimated that over 80% of fatal boating accident victims could have been saved with the use of a life jacket. Remember, life jackets must be readily accessible; not in packaging or buried below other gear.

Make sure all of your life jackets are U.S. Coast Guard approved and in good condition with no rips or tears. Replace worn-out jackets so when needed, they will provide the buoyancy necessary to keep you afloat and alive.

Size matters when it comes to life jacket selection and use. When boating with children, make sure they are wearing properly sized and fitted life jackets. Children must not be able to slide out of life jackets when they hit the water.

Don’t operate a vessel while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.

Pay attention to your surroundings and boat responsibly. Seventy-seven percent of deaths on boats occurred where the operator had no boating safety instruction.

Boaters are also reminded to adhere to a “pack-in, pack-out” trash policy to ensure that garbage is not blown or tossed overboard. The Town’s Bay Constable monitors Marine Channels 9 and 16, and operates from the Town Dock in Port Washington, New York. Pump out services are also available during the summer season, for times and dates please call 516-767-4622.

For more information on safety tips and navigation rules, please call 311.

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