Paddle-craft and boating accidents on the rise

Published 6:58 pm Friday, May 17, 2019

From the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary 

Paddle-craft are particularly susceptible to accidents. Wind, current, surf and sun all affect paddlers negatively. The number of people injured or lost while using these watercraft is rising every year as the sport becomes more popular. Paddle-craft have such a low profile, power boaters cannot see them in time to take corrective action. The life jacket is the most important item when you are on the water — wear it.

Do not drink alcohol while operating a power boat or paddle craft. Not only will you become a hazard to others but a hazard to yourself. Stay hydrated drink plenty of water on hot days. Remember if you own an inflatable life jacket they do not count as a life jacket unless you have them on and secured. The kill switch lanyard should be attached to the driver of the vessel in case they fall or move quickly away from the helm. When you have people in the water around your boat be sure to turn the engine off — beware of the prop.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary will be doing free vessel safety checks, including paddle-craft during National Safe Boating Week, May 18-24. The group will be set up at Havens Garden and Tranters Creek from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and then again on May 25 and May 26.

If the Examiner finds your boat missing any items, you will be given a form showing what you will need to add to your required equipment. These yearly inspections are important before getting out on the water. It is better to take 15-20 minutes and allow us to inspect your vessel, because there are no fines issued.

Beware of impostor inflatable life vests. Many sellers on Ebay and other similar sites have vendors selling these vests for one third of the average retail price. Most are from China. You must use caution before purchasing these items. Most do not come with the CO2 cartridge used to inflate the vest. These vests are not Coast Guard approved, but these suppliers will not state that in the description of their product. Suppliers who sell approved life vests state in the product description that they are U.S. Coast Guard approved. Before purchasing one of these vests contact the seller and ask if they are U.S. Coast Guard approved.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniform civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard in nearly all mission areas. Congress created the Auxiliary in 1939. For more information, visit