As we prepare for the Fourth of July holiday, those who will be boating are encouraged to exercise extra special caution to protect those in their boats and in others.
According to Kell Robbins, manager at Furlan’s Marine in Gautier, Fourth of July is one of the holidays where they see the most damaged boats come into their shop for repair. He said, this time of year, people can get hurt, or worse, in boating related accidents – people fall out of boats or the driver hits something that then throws passengers from the boat.
When it comes to enjoying the boating holiday in a safe manner, Robbins gave a few safety tips that are important to keep in mind for new and experienced boaters alike.
The main tip is to make sure you have safety gear on your boat in case an emergency does arise. This includes proper life jackets, fire extinguishers, flares, and a good cell phone battery. It can be a good idea to inspect these from time to time and make sure everything works properly and is in good condition.
Robbins also encourages boaters to run their boats before the holiday weekend to make sure there is nothing wrong and that they are up to proper boating standards. One simple way to prevent damage is to make sure the drain plug on the boat is plugged in before it is launched.
Furlan’s Marine can also check your boat and safety gear if you’re unsure.
Robbins also said that it’s important to check the radar and keep an eye on storms because they can – and do – pop up quickly. He said that if you see a storm while on the island, it can be a good idea to wait it out and let the storm pass rather than trying to beat it back to shore in the boat.
Many boating accidents are alcohol related, and Robbins said each boat should have a sober driver to ensure that everyone gets home safely. There will be a lot of marine patrols about during the holiday checking boaters and enforcing the laws. Also, Mississippi requires that boaters born after June 30, 1980, must have a Boater Education Card.
To get your boat checked for any boating holiday or for repairs, contact Furlan’s Marine at 228-497-7444 or visit their website.
For more information on boating safety, visit the official website of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division.