Jim Frei: Safer boaters needed

July 9, 2014 

The July 6 news article “ Patrol keeps waters safe” reinforces the need for boater education. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary also patrols area lakes, and while we cannot issue citations, we can advise on safe boating practices.

The personal watercraft driver who received the ticket should be thanking Sgt. Kelly Brantley instead of complaining; that officer might have saved his or his child’s life. Life jackets are required when riding a PWC or on a towed inflatable and for all children under 13 years old on a vessel underway.

People may think they’re good swimmers, but no one swims well when unconscious due to a knock on the head. None of the recent drowning victims on area lakes was wearing a life jacket.

Anyone born after 1987 is required to obtain a Boating Safety Education certificate to drive a powerboat or PWC on North Carolina waters. Both the USCG Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadrons teach boating classes necessary to obtain the operator certification.

There’s plenty of summer left for water activities. Take a boating class now and be safe.

Jim Frei

Vice Flotilla Commander, USCG Auxiliary


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