Experts share boating safety tips as summer activities kick off - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Experts share boating safety tips as summer activities kick off

As many people hopefully stayed safe on their boats this Memorial Day, staggering numbers are coming from the U.S. Coast Guard - $39,000,000 in property damage and hundreds of lives were lost in 2014 boating accidents.

Hot summer weather is settling in, and many people across the valley are taking trips to nearby beaches and lakes to cool off.

However, sometimes trips out on the water can turn deadly, even for the most seasoned boaters.

"There's a lot of people out on the water and you need to drive your boat like you drive your car, very cautious," said one boater we talked to on Monday.

Deaths and injuries related to recreational boating accidents have been on the rise in recent years, and U.S. Coast Guard's first tip is to wear your life jacket.

However, some forget that advice far too often.

According to the latest reports from the Coast Guard, 78 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those, 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket.

"With having fun you got to be responsible also, make sure you got safety equipment, look out for one another. We're here to have fun and at the end of the day we all want to go home safe, with all our limbs and our lives," said another boater out on Lake Oliver Marina Monday afternoon.

Other safety tips from boating experts include:

1. Be aware of weather conditions before heading out to open water.

2. Use common sense when it comes to speeding and other boats nearby.

3. Make sure one person on board is aware of all operational aspects of the boat.

4. Make sure someone on land knows your boating plan for the day.

5. Learn to swim.

6. Avoid alcohol consumption when boating.

You never know when an accident might happen, but following these tips could still save your life.

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