Boating Safety Patrols Begin Soon

Boating Safety Patrols Begin Soon

On Saturday, May 26, firefighters from Fire and Rescue Station 20, Gunston, will begin safety patrol duties in Fireboat 420 on the Potomac River and Mason Neck Area. The patrols will continue through the month of September.

The National Safety Council recommends the following tips for recreational boaters:

  • Don't drink and boat. Boating while intoxicated is just as dangerous as drinking and driving. The "designated driver" system doesn't work in boating. Everyone is at risk because the boat's motion, coupled with alcohol, increases the chances of losing balance and falling overboard.

  • Everyone on the boat should wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket. A PFD is the best protection against drowning.

  • Check the weather and water conditions before leaving the shore. If it looks like storms are brewing or the water is very choppy, wait for another day to go boating.

  • Limit the number of passengers in a small boat. Don't exceed the limit allowed by the boat's capacity plate. Keep in mind the size and weight of each person — equal distribution of weight will limit the possibility of capsizing.

  • Have visual distress devices approved by the Coast Guard on board. Pyrotechnic red flares, orange smoke, orange distress flags, and electric distress lights must be in good working order and easily accessible.

  • Use the "one-third rule" in fuel management. Use one-third of the fuel to go, one-third to get back, and keep one-third in reserve.

  • Always tell someone where you will be boating, when you will be back, what your boat looks like, and other identifying information.

For more information on this or other safety issues, contact Public Affairs and Life Safety Education at 703-246-3801 or TTY 711.