Editorial: Enjoy the water... safely

Enjoy the water safely
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Summertime is almost here, and families will be hitting the water to beat the heat.

But officials have some reminders before you hit the water. If you're planning to head out on a boat, there are a few things you can do, to keep you and your family safe.

Know the area you will be in. If you aren't familiar, take someone with you who is.

Check your equipment before you head out, and don't drink and drive on the water.

Rangers with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources also say, kids under 16 should be wearing a life jacket, when the boat is in motion.

"We don't have to have a violation to stop someone," explained DNR Game Warden Eric White. "We can do a safety equipment check on a boat. If we do that and find that operator is not safe to operate that vessel or under the influence of alcohol, then we can handle the situation accordingly."

And if your kids don't know how to swim, the Dougherty County Coroner is spearheading an event to help children learn to swim.

An event called H-2-O Summer Splash will be held on May 26 from 11am to 2pm, with free swimming lessons, called: 'swim for life.'

Summer is a time for fun for the whole family, remember to be safe should be a top priority.

Here are some smart safety tips to do before you leave

Check the weather.
Let someone know where you are going.
Gather all lifesaving devices. Make sure they are in good serviceable condition and are the correct size for all passengers (especially children).
Check the fuel and the battery charge.
Make sure lights are in good working condition on the boat and trailer.
Make sure fire extinguisher is readily accessible and in good serviceable condition.
Put the plug in.
Connect trailer safety chains to tow vehicle.
Carry a cell phone if possible.

On the Water

Know the aids to navigation and buoy system in your areas.
Don't operate the boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
When operating sailboats be aware of overhead power lines and wires.
If someone falls overboard, throw something that will float (Personal Floating Device (PFD), raft or cooler).
All boats approaching from the right have the right of way.
Always anchor from the bow of the boat and pull the anchor before leaving.
If the boat capsizes, stay with the boat.
If caught in a storm, head into the wind, put on PFD's and keep passengers low in the boat.
Cold water boaters such as duck hunters, fishermen, sailors beware! Cold water kills.
Call Operation Game Thief (1-800-922-5431) to report boating, fishing or hunting violations.

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