Memorial Day weekend means crowded conditions on local waterways, increasing the need for boaters to be especially mindful of safe boating practices.
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary held a training exercise on Beaver Lake Saturday (May 17). “Anything from man-over-board drills to side tows to stern tows,” said Auxiliary member Gary Dromi.
The exercise was also designed to qualify and re-qualify boat coxswains and crew members. "The coxswain onboard would actually have them do some helm watch, where he would tell them to steer the course according to the compass," said Dromi.
“Hoping to sign off a few qualifications today,” said boat crew trainee Jonathan Verhoeven. Vehoeven is working towards his crew qualification. "I would eventually like to be a coxswain in a couple of years and be able to command a boat."
In addition to the training a cookout was held to kick off boating safety week. The Coast Guard says it’s important to educate the public. "Kids wearing life jackets, folks staying inside the rails on boats and not hanging over the rails or standing up while the boats are moving,” said Auxiliary member Ryan Brown.
Auxiliary members said logs, debris and trash in the water are common hazards at this time of the year. But those things are not the biggest problem. "Boaters are obviously the biggest problem they've got with each other. When people are not paying attention to what they are doing, when the boats themselves are not being operated correctly, or by persons who do not know what they are doing," said Brown.
Boating safety week began May 17 and runs through May 23.