Making water safety a top priority this summer

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With the Tennessee River in our backyard and summer only a few days away, many people will soon return to their boats for sunny days out on the water.

Whether you’re fishing, tubing, or just enjoying the outdoors, safety should be a foremost priority for all watercraft activity.

Remember Before You Board …

To keep you and your family safe this summer, familiarize yourself with the following reminders:

* Wear a life jacket. By state law, all children under the age of eight should wear a life jacket. However, it is widely recommended that everyone on board wear a flotation device.

* Alcohol and boating don’t mix. According to the American Boating Association (ABA), boaters should avoid alcohol while on the water. President of the ABA William Condon states, “There’s clearly a causal factor between boating accidents and drowning and alcohol.”

* Install carbon monoxide alarms on the boat. You do not have to be in the cabin of your boat to be exposed to a potential carbon monoxide accumulation. The National Safe Boating Council reminds boaters to keep alarms maintained on your boat and to never swim by the boat with your engine running. Just in case, know the first signs of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness, and irritated eyes.

* Steer clear of distractions and other boats. The easiest way to avoid a collision is to stay alert while boating. The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary states that boaters should always give plenty of space to tugs, towboats, and larger vessels.

* Maintain your boat dock. Ensure that your dock wiring meets city code before launching for the season. You can also purchase devices to monitor potential electrical currents by your boat for increased safety throughout the summer. Avoid using metal ladders. 

For more on boating safety and rules, visit Outdoor Alabama’s boating page.

Source: City of Decatur

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