Boating safety checks prevent issues before holiday weekend

Boat safety in focus before holiday weekend

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Thousands of boaters – many of whom are inexperienced -- are expected to take to Charleston-area waterways this upcoming Memorial Day weekend. 

"There's not a whole of formal training that goes into boating.  Just about anybody can go out and buy a boat and put it in the water and get underway," Coast Guard Maritime Enforcement Specialist 2nd Class Terence Klingele said.  "So for us to come along and educate the public on what they need to do to operate their boat safely -- I think it goes a long way."

The Coast Guard, along with other agencies, including the Charleston Police Department, Border Patrol and South Carolina Constables, make up the Seahawk Interagency Operation Center – a group that proactively stresses safety by conducting boating safety checks.

"People need to have their right lifesaving equipment and fire-fighting equipment and it all has to be serviceable and we need to make sure these vessels are safe so people can be safe while they're out boating," Coast Guard Sector Charleston Public Information Officer Lt. Tim McNamara said.

Onboard a Charleston Police Department vessel, there is also new technology being tested that would help to capture possible evidence on tape.

"It's similar to the in-car videos that you would commonly see for DUI evidence," Charleston Police Department Marine Patrol Supervisor Sgt. Chad Womack said.  "We put this on this vessel for a demonstration and we're looking into the feasibility of actually using this."

One of the most common safety issues the group encounters is a lack of life jackets.  There must be one life jacket for each person on board.

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