West Marine to host water safety seminar

Published 8:09 pm Thursday, August 30, 2018

Two weeks ago, two boaters were the subjects of a multi-agency search that ended in tragedy. The couple was found, drowned, after two days of searching. They were not wearing life jackets.

Last weekend, a pair of kayakers set out from Inner Banks Outfitters for a day of kayaking fun on the Pamlico. When the two did not return by sunset, local emergency personnel launched boats from Haven’s Garden, beginning a search. Fortunately, the two were quickly located, and returned to shore unharmed.

While these two instances had different outcomes, both can offer lessons on water safety, and one local business is offering the community a chance to learn more about the topic this weekend.

On Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., West Marine will host a water safety seminar at its location at 330 Bridge St. in Washington. With federally-required safety equipment on display at the store, staff will be on hand to answer questions from the community on the gear needed for a safe day on the water.

“We’ll ask them what safety gear they have on board and explain what safety gear they need to have on board and how to actually use the safety gear to be safe on the water,” West Marine Manager Joe Lavelle said. “The water’s no joke, and respecting the water and being safe on the water is half the battle.”

From flares and lifejackets to rearming inflatable lifejackets and proper VHF use, the staff will be available to cover a wide range of topics. In conjunction with the seminar, the store will also offer 15-percent off purchases of $100 or more in safety equipment.

“We’re here as a store for the community and to help keep the boating community safe,” Lavelle said. “With it being Labor Day weekend, it’s sort of the last big hurrah for people before they go back to school, so we want to make sure that people are safe on the water this weekend.”

West Marine will also provide contact information for the local Coast Guard Auxiliary for those interested in having a vessel safety check. During the seminar, the store will also host a cookout to benefit the Leukemia Cup Regatta, a fundraising event to fund research and treatment for blood cancers.

For more information about the seminar or the fundraiser, call 252-975-6688.