Coast Guard offers free boat inspections

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - With boating season soon upon us, safety advocates are now shedding light on the possible dangerous or deadly consequences.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary Charleston put out 26 signs at County Farm Landing in North Charleston, as reminders of boating safety and representing the lives lost in boating accidents in South Carolina last year.

"We placed 26 markers for each life lost in 2010 boating season, and it's in the hopes we can increase boating safety awareness on the water and we can prevent loss of life in the future," Coast Guard Flotilla Commander Alan Miles said.

The Coast Guard is on a mission to remind boaters to be safe, and they will host free vessel safety checks around the Lowcountry. They'll be looking at your equipment and encouraging people to wear life vests.

"We actually have a checklist and we'll go through the boat and look at the lights, horns, signaling devices, life jackets, overall condition of the vessel, if it's safe. We don't issue tickets or any type of penalty for that," Miles said.

Dr. Bo Machado of Health First says neck or back injuries are a big problem during the summer because people dive off boats or docks without knowing how deep the water is.

"The results of those spine injuries for us have been full blown quadriplegic. Patients with dislocations of neck bones," Dr. Machado said.

Insurance agents with Allstate also offer the following tips when out on the water: Don't drink and boat, know the weather and water, give a boat plan to friends or family who can call for help if needed, and insure your boat.

For an extra safe summer on the water, the Coast Guard also offers boating safety class.

Starting this weekend is National Boating Safety Week. The Coast Guard inspections are taking place at the following locations:

County Farm Landing off Leeds Avenue, 9 am - 1 pm, on May 21st, 22nd, and 28th.

John Limehouse Landing off Main Road, 9 am - 1 pm on May 21st, 22nd, and 28th.

Folly River Landing, 1 pm – 4 pm on May 27th.

Wapoo Cut Landing, 1 pm – 4pm on May 27th.

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