BUTTE COUNTY, Calif.—With summer weather on the way Butte County Sheriff’s Marine Unit wants to remind everyone to be safe when using the waterways.
Whether you enjoy the water with a recreational boat, canoe, or personal watercraft it is important to know the four leading causes of tragic boat accidents.
The leading causes of tragic boat accidents are operator inexperience, inattention, recklessness, and speeding.
The leading cause of death while boating is drowning.
Crash stats show that people who wear life jackets and take boater safety courses are most likely to stay safe on waterways.
Important things to remember when using local waterways:
- Wear a life jacket and insist that your guests do the same. Children under the age of 13 are required by law to wear a life jacket that fits them properly while on your boat, and a life jacket on board of proper size is required for every person. Life jackets are also required on standup paddle boards and kayaks/canoes.
- Never drink alcohol while boating. Alcohol was again the leading factor in all fatal boating accidents. Stay sharp on the water by leaving the alcohol on land.
- Take a boating safety course. Many courses are available online, and California’s Boater Card requirements are now in effect - this year, anyone ages 16-20 must have a card in their possession to operate a boat, and older age groups will be included in years following.
- Stay in control by taking charge of your safety and that of your passengers - it is imperative to maintain control of your vessel and your passengers. Don’t forget that safety and responsibility begins with you.
- Understand and obey boating safety recommendations and navigational rules - learn the rules of boating before you head out on the water.
- Prepare your boat before you leave home - make sure it runs and operates safely, and be sure to check for required equipment such as life jackets, a throwable flotation device, and a marine-type fire extinguisher.