Keep your loved ones safe on the water, learn safe boating practices

LAKE NORMAN, NC (WBTV) - Each year, officers and officials encourage boaters to be safe on the water.

This spring, there are several opportunities for boaters to learn safe practices on the water.  The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Lake Norman Flotilla is offering one-day safety courses on March 16, April 20, May 11, and June 15. The courses lead to a North Carolina Boating Certificate.

The course, approved by the State and NASBLA is recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard and will cover topics such as choosing the right boat, equipment requirements, state boating laws, safety regulations, navigation rules, buoy systems, trailering, safe fueling, weather, accident prevention and a variety of other special topics.

All classes are taught by an instructor from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and will run from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

The March 16 class will be held at the Westport Marina at 7879 Water Oaks Drive in Denver, North Carolina.

All other classes will be held at the Shepherds Fire Departments at 2014 Charlotte Highway in Mooresville.

The course costs $45, which includes lunch.

All students completing the course will receive a certificate that enables them to operate recreational vessels, including jet skis.

For information on the boating safety classes this spring, call the Lake Norman Flotilla at 704-663-3333.

Each year, the United States Coast Guard partners with boating safety organizations to raise awareness during National Safe Boating Week, and throughout the year.

National Safe Boating Week will be observed May 18-May 24 this year. There has been a steady decline in boating fatalities since President Eisenhower proclaimed the week in 1958, but the week is a good time to make sure you and your loved ones know simple steps to stay safe on the water.

One of the best ways to stay safe is to stay sober. The National Safe Boating Council says alcohol is a leading factor in deadly boating accidents. Limiting or eliminating alcohol consumption on the water can save lives.

Also - make sure everyone wears a life jacket. While the number of boating fatalities in 2010 decreased by 8.7 percent from the previous year, there were 672 boating-related deaths. Of that number, 75 percent drowned and 88 percent of those victims were not wearing a life jacket.

"Accidents on the water can happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket," said John Mielke, Flotilla Commander with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

"It's important that everyone wear a life jacket while on the water. There's no reason why you, your family and friends can't have fun on the water while also choosing to always wear a life jacket."

John added that boaters can prevent accidents and drowning by being aware of weather conditions, performing vessel safety checks, and ensuring that all required safety equipment is on board.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary is the volunteer branch of the United States Coast Guard. It was established by Congress in 1939 to assist in promoting boating safety. There are nearly 35,000 members, but the Auxiliary is looking for new volunteers.

You can volunteer in a variety of ways:

  • Trainers to teach Boater Safety Classes
  • Vessel Examiner
  • On the water Boat Crew
  • Web site Developers
  • Social Media Coordinators
  • Grant Writers

The Auxiliary has a proud tradition of support to the United States Coast Guard and helping mariners needing assistance on the water. In an average day the Coast Guard Auxiliary Saves 14 lives, assists 328 people, saves $8,000,000 in property, services 150 aids to Navigation, (buoys, signs, markers) conducts over 500 hours of Safety Patrols and performs over 200 Vessel Safety Checks.

You can find out more on the Auxiliary Coast Guard website:

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