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by Gail Kulp, Sea Tow Foundation, Southold, N.Y.
There’s a reason the saying is “Safety First.”
A recent incident in the Springfield area highlights just how important boating safety is. A woman was thrown off her Personal Watercraft, or PWC, on Table Rock Lake and was moderately injured. Luckily, she was wearing a life jacket and was able to receive medical attention, but that, unfortunately, isn’t the case for everyone.
When using a PWC, don’t forget the following safety tips and rules:
- Always wear your life jacket — if knocked unconscious or hurt when entering the water, it can be impossible to swim.
- Attach an engine cut-off lanyard to your life jacket. If you get thrown overboard, the PWC engine will stop, and it will be easier to get back on the vessel.
- Always operate your PWC at a safe speed to avoid getting thrown off into the water.
- Each PWC is required to carry a fire extinguisher. Make sure that the fire extinguisher is up to date and ready for use.
- Take a boating safety class. In Missouri, PWC operators are required to take and pass a boater safety course.
- Explore the Sea Tow Foundation’s website for more boating safety tips.
Gail Kulp is the executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation.