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Did Santa Bring You A PWC? Take A Boating-Safety Class Before Hitting The Water!

Was Santa extra good to you this last holiday season? Did he fit down the chimney with a personal watercraft in tow?

Series: Boating Safety | Story 5

If you got a personal watercraft (PWC) for the holidays, the U.S. Coast Guard urges you to take a boating-safety education class before you hit the water this summer.

PWCs are an affordable way for people to get out and enjoy the numerous waterways that are available to boaters. "Operators need to keep in mind though, that personal watercraft are like any other watercraft. Whether it be a fishing boat, ski boat, or PWC, the key to safe and prudent use lies with the operator," says Ed Huntsman, recreational boating-safety program manager for the U.S. Coast Guard's Eighth District.

Personal watercraft are easy to trailer, store, and maintain and have opened recreational boating to many who otherwise would be left at the dock or on the shore. The typical buyer is around 40 years old with a family and looking for a three-passenger boat that can tow a water-skier.

According to the National Marine Manufacturer's Association, more than 75 percent of all PWCs sold in the U.S. recently are three-passenger vessels.

"Personal watercraft are being used more often these days as family boats," says Huntsman. "Whenever friends or family are getting ready for a day on the water, I always give them the following safety tips:

1. Take a boating safety education class.

2. Life jackets save lives, so wear them.

3. Maintain an awareness of where you are and what you're doing, especially after being in the sun all day and being bounced around by wind and waves."

Adding alcohol into the mix significantly increases your chances of having a good day on the water go bad, adds Huntsman. "Sober boating saves lives, so don't drink alcohol or use illegal drugs - keep a good day good, " he says.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, BoatU.S., Power Squadron, and your state's boating enforcement agency all offer boating-safety education courses, which, in many cases, are free.

To learn more about boating safety classes, visit your state boating agency or the BoatU.S. Web site at http://www.boatus.org . To learn more about boating in general, visit the U.S. Coast Guard's Boating Safety Resource Center Web site at http://www.uscgboating.org.

Author Bio

Ed Huntsman, Boating Editor

Author photo

Recreational boating safety Program Manager, United States Coast Guard, Eighth Coast Guard District. - Retired


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