GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – Midway Fire Rescue is sharing some best practices in boat safety going into the 4th of July weekend.
On Thursday water rescue crews all along the coast responded to numerous calls from distressed boaters.
Division Chief Mark Nugent for Midway Fire Rescue hopes to prevent a bad situation from happening by informing people on how to handle your boat, both in and out of the water.
“Have a checklist. Make sure the fuel is good. Make sure your plugs are in. Make sure you have a map of the area you’re going in,” said Nugent, “Make sure someone knows where you’re going, what time you’re going, and what time you’re expected to be back. And a destination so they know where you’re supposed to be.”
Nugent also suggests having fully charged phones, phone charges, water, and food on a boat before heading out.
The law requires a working fire extinguisher and enough life vests for each person aboard to be inside a boat at all times. Making sure life vests are sized appropriately for each person’s weight and age.
Having life vests in an area where you can easily get to them is crucial for the quickest response in a distress situation.
“If you have a fire on that boat and need to get off real quick, make sure you can get to those lifesaving devices. Even if you can swim well and you have to leave a bot 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 must be watched at all times. 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 conditions it’s important to give yourself enough time to dock your 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.”