GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – Midway Fire Rescue is preparing boaters for the 4th of July weekend by offering information on boat safety.
On Thursday water rescue crews all along the coast were called to numerous distress calls from boaters.
With many tourists and locals flocking to the water Division Chief Mark Nugent of Midway Fire Rescue says taking the time to prepare your boat could stop a bad situation from happening.
Nugent suggests making a checklist prior to taking a boat out.
“Have a checklist. Make sure the fuel is good. Make sure your plugs are in. Make sure you have a map of the are you’re going in,” said Nugent, “Make sure someone knows where you’re going, what time you’re going, what time you’re expected to be back. And a destination so they know where you’re supposed to be.
Nugent advises having charged cellphones, cellphone chargers, water, and food on a boat before hitting the water.
The law requires a working fire extinguisher and a life vest for each person aboard to be inside a boat at all times. Life vests should also be size appropriate depending on weight and age.
Life vests should also be stored in a place where you can easily get to. Having the vests accessible is crucial for the quickest response in a distress situation.
“If you have a fire on that boat and you need to get off real quick, make sure you can get to those lifesaving deices. Even if you can swim well and you have to leave a boat and get in the water because of a fire. You want to make sure you have something that can save your life,” said Nugent.
Nugent also says small children should be watched at all times. That it only takes a minute for tragedy to strike.
“Have a designated kid watcher and when that’s your job you’re not playing on your phone, you’re not reading. Your job is to watch those kids,” said Nugent.
Another factor on the water is speed. On rainy days and in unpredictable weather it’s important to give yourself enough time to dock a boat safely.
“Watch the WBTW weather app. Have that downloaded on your phone so you don’t have to go looking for it. You can pull it up,” said Nugent, “Be aware of what not the weather is doing right then, but what’s that weather going to do an hour from then and being prepared.”