Coast Guard reminding public about boating safety as summer nears

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - An emergency out on the water isn't something you plan for, but it happens to about four hundred people a year across South Carolina and Georgia.

So, the Coast Guard is reminding you that preparation is a big part of your boating season.

First, check your life jackets.Make sure you have one for every person you will carry on your boat.

Check to see if those life jackets will fit you and your passengers properly, and are in good condition.

Before you take a trip on your boat, always tell someone exactly where you are going and when you'll be back.

If something happens, you can be rescued.

"Taking search out of search and rescue is really important," said Lt. J.B. Zorn of Coast Guard Station Charleston.  "I think if people knew that we can get to any location within about 100 miles within two hours if we know where you are, that's pretty powerful stuff. But we've got to know where you are first."

Having a radio and a cell phone can help the Coast Guard find you in the event of trouble, but even better, is having a device called a PPIRB.

"It sends a signal to a satellite with your location, and most of these are operated once it hits the water," Zorn said.  "It gives us a really good indication of where you are so we can send rescue teams right to your location."

A strobe light is also useful so the Coast Guard can spot you in heavy wave action.

Zorn also suggests for those people who would rather hire someone to take them out on the water, make sure the captain is licensed.

His final recommendation is don't drink if you are the driver or captain.

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