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Stay safe while boating this summer in Virginia

Wear a life vest, stay alert for summer storms, and don’t drink and boat
Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 5:04 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - From kayaks to speed boats, on rivers, lakes, and the bay, summertime is boating time.

But if you’re not careful, a day of fun in the sun can turn tragic. There were 47 injuries, and 19 people died in boating accidents in Virginia in 2021.

“We want to make sure that people are being safe and enjoying the water,” said Virginia Conservation Police Officer Justin Hall.

The number one priority when on the water is wearing a life jacket, and the most important thing is that it fits properly.

“It’s not required to wear the personal flotation device while you’re on the vessel, but they do have to be accessible when you’re on the vessel, so you’re able to put them on in an emergency situation,” said Hall.

Summer storms pose one of the biggest dangers to boaters because you’re one of the tallest objects in an open area; it puts you at a higher risk of being struck by lightning on a boat. The NBC12 weather app has interactive radar with lightning data and will give you the First Alert to approaching storms.

“If you have a weather app, make sure your location is set for the body of water that you’re going to be on, so you’re aware of any pop-up storms or approaching storms because storms can come up very quickly when you’re out on the water and catch you off guard,” explained Hall.

It’s important to stay hydrated in the heat but not with alcohol. Boating under the influence increases the risk of an accident, and legal consequences are the same as a DUI.

If you follow these tips, it will be smooth sailing on the water this summer.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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