Lots of Mississippians will head out on the water this Memorial Day weekend, many for the first time this year. MPB’s Evelina Burnett has some tips from marine safety officials on how to stay safe.
Chief Petty Officer Jonathan McMurray with U.S. Coast Guard Station Gulfport urges boaters to leave a float plan, detailing where they’re going and when they plan to be back, with a friend or relative, and to make sure the boat is ready for the planned trip. The most important safety equipment on board?
"Your life jacket," McMurray says. "At all times you want to be trying to wear your life jacket. I know it's hot, and it's not as easy to do that as is to say I have it on board. But the biggest thing is you want to have that life jacket ready and available."
McMurray says boaters need to have a life jacket – that fits – for everyone on board. Riders 12 and under need to wear theirs. Don’t have enough life jackets, and you could be heading back to dry land:
Pass Christian Harbor Master Willie Davis says it should be busy on the water this weekend. He reminds boaters to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated.
"They definitely need to have plenty of water to drink," he says. "Keep their life jackets handy. Because everybody likes to store them under compartments and stuff and not pull them out. They need to have the life jackets out handy where they can get to them, and make sure their flares and emergency equipment is up to date."
Fire extinguishers are also required to be on board, and the coast guard also recommends having a throwable float, like a life ring.