Safety urged this boating season
Rebecca Walker, Franklin County Times
Boating is a popular activity in the summer months. However, there are a few precautions that boaters should take before heading out onto the lake or river.
Roy Nagle, a vessel examiner for the Coast Guard Auxillary in Florence and resident of Phil Campbell, says that life jackets are more important than people think.
"It's like seatbelts. You just never know. Everyone thinks it won't happen to them. But boating accidents can happen before you know it," he said.
Children under eight years of age are required to wear a life jacket if they are to be in a boat. Adults should wear them as well, and make sure that they fit correctly.
"If you have gained or lost weight since the last time you wore a life jacket, you need to try it on and make sure it fits," says Nagle. "It should be comfortable, and not too tight or loose."
"Anyone in a boat should be familiar with the rules of the road," he said. "You should know how to operate the boat, and always watch out for others who may not be watching out for you. Make sure you know what people around you are doing."
Another piece of advice offered by Nagle is how to use the gas in the boat's tank. According to Nagle, one-third of the gas should be used to get to the location, another third for any recreation activities, and the final third of the tank should be saved for getting back to the starting point.
Also, if a boat is equipped with a kill switch, it must be worn by the operator. This is to prevent the boat from continuing to run, should the operator be thrown out.
Waterskiers should know that either a mirror or a spotter is required when water skiing.
According to the Website, alabamaoutdoors.com, "Everyone on board a vessel must have a life jacket available to them. Anyone being towed on skis or a tube, riding a Jet Ski or Sea Doo, or boating within 800 feet below a dam must wear a life jacket."
On the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, and any other time when Franklin County residents are on the water, these tips should be taken into account.