PLYMOUTH — As the sun comes out and temperatures rise, Chief G. Edward Bradley and the Plymouth Fire Department would like to share tips on boating and beach safety to keep residents safe this summer.
Over the weekend, Plymouth Fire responded to White Island Pond for a drowning after a male victim was pulled from the water and was pronounced dead at the scene.
On May 25, Plymouth Fire responded to another incident at Plymouth Bay for a report of two kayakers in distress. Plymouth Fire and the Plymouth Harbormaster rescued the two kayakers and a good Samaritan who swam out to assist the kayakers. Due to the cold water conditions, Plymouth Fire treated the three induvial for symptoms of hypothermia.
According to the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC), there were 4,168 boating accidents, 2,559 injuries and 613 deaths due to boating in 2019. When operating a boat, residents must remain vigilant and follow all safety guidelines.
While out on a boat, it’s important that everyone wears a life jacket. In 2019, 86% of drowning victims from recreational boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket.
Operators who navigate a boat under the influence are also much more likely to be involved in an accident than those who are sober. According to the NSBC, in 2019 23% of boating deaths listed alcohol as the leading factor. Among other contributing factors are operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience and excessive speed.
“With school almost out of session and people traveling to Plymouth during the summer vacation to enjoy our beaches, we ask that all community members and visitors exercise extreme caution while in the water,” Chief Bradley said. “Even experienced swimmers can fall victim to rip currents and difficult water conditions. To ensure everyone’s safety, we ask that all swimmers and boaters familiarize themselves with the tips below.”
The Plymouth Fire Department would like to share these safe boating tips with residents, courtesy the National Weather Service (NWS):
- Start each trip in your boat by going through a checklist of equipment and operation procedures, just like an airline pilot.
- When you take your family for a boat ride, tell a friend or neighbor where you are going and when you expect to return. If you change plans, let them know.
- Know the rules of the water and practice safe boating. Contact your local Coast Guard auxiliary, power squadron, or Red Cross for details about taking a boating safety course.
- Boating is safer and more fun when your boat is properly outfitted. Check with your nearest Coast Guard auxiliary for a free examination. Also check your boat’s capacity plate. It tells you how many people can safely be on board. Overloading is not only against the law, it’s dangerous.
- Before you set sail, check the forecast and keep your weather radio with you for updated reports.
- The wind can play tricks on a novice sailor in a small sailboat. The easiest way out of trouble is to let go of the main sheet. This will cock your bow into the wind almost immediately.
- The “man overboard” drill is as important on a small boat as it is on an ocean liner. Learn and practice the proper procedure for retrieving someone who has fallen overboard.
- Inspect your boat trailer thoroughly before heading to the lake or ocean. Tires, brakes, and safety chains should all be checked. Don’t be the victim of a dry land boating accident.
The Plymouth Fire Department would also like to share these tips from the NWS on how to safely enjoy the beach this summer:
- If you are caught in a rip current, stay calm. Don’t fight the current. Escape the current by swimming in a direction following the shoreline. When free of the current, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
- Don’t become a victim while trying to help someone else caught in a rip current. Get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard isn’t present, yell instructions on how to escape. If possible, throw the rip current victim something that floats.
- If you intend to go into the water, make sure you know how to swim. Never swim alone. For maximum safety, swim near a lifeguard. Be cautious at all times.
- Be aware of the signs of rip currents. Things to look for include a channel of churning choppy water, a difference in water color, a line of seaweed or debris moving out into the lake or a break in the incoming wave pattern.