Safety first on the water

Published 5:01 pm Thursday, April 13, 2017

Boating season is just around the corner, and each year new boaters take to area waterways.

Those new boaters — and even veteran boaters — must be prepared to traverse those waterways and know how to react around other boaters. The best way to prepare to operate a boat is to become educated on the right way to operate a boat safely and making sure the boat is properly equipped.

Locally, there are organizations such as the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Pamlico Sail & Power Squadron that provide boating-safety courses and boat inspections. Take advantage of those services provided at no cost or low cost.

Each year, about 700 Americans die in recreational boating accidents. Don’t become a boating-related fatality.

Some boating-safety measures are common-sense approaches to boating. Considering the amount of boat traffic — pleasure boating, commercial fishing and recreational fishing — this area sees during the warm months, boating safety should be foremost in boaters’ minds. Many of the rules of the road apply to boating. Don’t get a citation for boating while impaired. Be sure to wear a life vest, and be sure to have a life vest for everyone on the boat.

National Safe Boating Week is May 20-26, but emphasis on safe boating should be throughout any year. To that end, the National Safe Boating Council has implemented its North American Safe Boating Campaign, which kicks off the weekend before the Memorial Day weekend. The campaign is produced under a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. The campaign offers free and paid resources. For more information about the campaign, visit

North Carolina law requires anyone born after Jan. 1, 1988, to successfully complete an approved boating-education course before operating any vessel propelled by a motor of 10 horsepower or greater.

Boating is fun, but it can be dangerous and deadly. Make sure your boating excursions are fun by operating boats safely and having the proper equipment onboard.

For additional information on boating safety, visit or visit