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Tips for a safe time on the water

AAA Carolinas
CHARLOTTE – Memorial Day Weekend was the unofficial start to summer, and many Carolinians are taking to the water for some relief from the heat. For those who will do so on boats, AAA Carolinas offers safety tips.

“A day on the water can be a lot of fun, but can also go south very quickly if a collision occurs or a passenger falls overboard,” said Tiffany Wright, AAA Carolinas spokesperson. “Just like driving a car, operating a boat is a big responsibility and should be done with the utmost caution.”

Below are some safety tips to ensure a good day on the water:

• Take boating safety instruction and get a nationally approved boating safety education certificate. Seven out of 10 boating incidents are caused by operator error.

• Wear a life jacket — always. And make sure every passenger does so as well.

• Don’t drink for the same reasons you don’t drink and drive on land.

• Check the weather before you go and keep an eye on it while you’re on the water. Weather can go from delightful to dangerous quickly. So stay safe and get off the water quickly if you see bad weather approaching.

• Have an emergency kit on the boat (stored safely so it does not become a hazard) equipped with a flashlight, duct tape, a bucket, a first aid kit, a whistle, ropes, a mirror, a fire extinguisher and extra life jackets.

• Adhere to the boat’s capacity restriction and keep the weight on the boat balanced.

• Learn the rules of the water and use common sense when operating a boat. Pay attention to the moves of other boaters on the water to avoid collisions or dangerous wake.

• Don’t forget sunscreen and water and know the signs of heat illness – especially with the extreme heat the Carolinas are having.

AAA Carolinas also recommends boater’s insurance to keep you and your family protected.

A common misconception boat owners have is that their boat, trailer and onboard items are automatically covered, either by an existing homeowner’s insurance policy or auto insurance policy. But the truth is that most homeowner or auto policies don’t cover physical damage, liability, or theft when your boat’s on the water. Make sure you have a clear understanding of where you’re covered and where you may need additional protection.

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