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EFD water rescue team provides safety tips for boating season

Updated: May. 23, 2021 at 11:12 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - All of the nice weather in the Tri-State recently has people out boating again.

The National Weather Service recognizes this week as National Safe Boating Week.

14 News checked in with safety officials on what boaters need to know to enjoy the water safely.

“Just overall boating safety, I think having properly equipped and properly running equipment,” Captain Jarrod Brown with the Evansville Fire Department’s water rescue team said.

EFD provided a tip for boating season this year.

“A form of communication, two-way radio, marine radio is definitely a plus, cellphones, things like that,” Captain Brown said. “Water, food - for some reason you should become stranded, you can hydrate until we can get resources to you, if you lose communication with people.”

Those are a few useful items the water rescue team recommends boaters to bring with them, on top of a Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on board.

“The best resource would be to go to (the Department of Natural Resources) website, you can get all the list of safety equipment that’s required by law and just overall recommended safety equipment,” Captain Brown said.

On average, the team says they make around 10-20 water rescue calls per year, including some at night time, which warrants other cautions for boaters.

“If you don’t have a vessel that’s properly lit, it’s obviously very dangerous, even in our vessels - we’ve ran up on barges pretty quickly,” Captain Brown said. “They’re extremely long, they can’t see you for quite a distance and you can become a victim pretty quickly if you’re not paying attention.”

Another important note? Just like when driving a car, people need to make sure whoever is driving the boat is sober.

“We’re not a law enforcement entity, but it’s obviously recommended to not drink on your boat,” Captain Brown said. “We’re not here to bust anyone’s fun or anything like that, but you definitely want a sober driver. Definitely don’t want to be intoxicated or be at a point where you become dangerous to other people on the boat.”

And for those new to boating, the water rescue team recommends having a plan before going out.

“Go out with other boaters who have experience on the water,” Captain Brown said. “Particularly, the river and the other craft that are out there. Again, barge traffic is a huge factor. If you’re unsure of your vessel and you need to test it, if you have to test it in the water, test it with another boat that can help pull you to safety if you do have a mechanical failure and keep you out of the channel.”

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