Start of Boating Season Means Safety is No Accident
RALEIGH, N.C. (May 22, 2006) ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ Memorial Day weekend is the traditional start of the boating season in North Carolina, those warm weather months when recreational boaters take to the water in increasing numbers.
"Before going out, boaters should check equipment to see if itÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s in good working condition," said Master Officer Tim Lominac, a N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission enforcement officer who patrols waterways in the stateÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s southwestern region. In addition to thoroughly inspecting the vessel, Lominac said it is essential to check all safety equipment like fire extinguishers and flotation devices.
"It is important boaters familiarize themselves with state and federal rules for the waters they intend to be on," Lominac said. Anyone can obtaininformation online at www.ncwildlife.org or from their local wildlife enforcement officer. Highly recommended is enrollment in a boating education course, offered free across the state by N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and other agencies. Operating requirements, vessel registration and how to handle emergencies are among topics covered.
Wildlife enforcement Capt. Chris Huebner said boat operators can help ensure the safety of those on board this holiday weekend by following these simple guidelines:
Make sure everyone aboard wears a personal flotation device.
DonÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢t drink and operate a vessel.
"ItÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s important to watch small children, and state law requires children under 13 wear a personal flotation device on recreational boats that are under way," said Huebner, who coordinates boating safety education for the agency. "ItÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s always a good idea for younger children to be in their PFDs at all times around water."
The boating season culminates with Labor Day in September. For more information on boating safety and regulations, visit theBoating/Waterways section or call (919) 707-0031.
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