Everyone loves summer time. It stays lighter longer, the weather is warm, and most of us take a summer vacation. Many summer vacations revolve around water. Whether it’s at the beach or a lake, water is usually nearby. With water comes water sports. Boating, jet skiing, water skiing and tubing are just a few of the many activities people enjoy during the warm weather months.

Water sport safety is a key part to any time spent on the water. This starts with a properly fitted life jacket. The life jacket should be worn at all times, not just tossed onboard to satisfy boating laws. Large vessels may not adhere to this statement, but smaller boats, personal watercraft, tubers and water skiers should always be wearing a life jacket. If you find yourself on a large vessel, be sure to familiarize yourself with the location of the life jackets in case of an emergency.

People often think having a few beers while cruising around on the boat is perfectly acceptable. Wrong. You should never operate any machinery while drinking. A boat has no brakes, you cannot turn on a dime, and yet people think that drinking and boating is perfectly acceptable. According to http://www.safetyresource.org, there were 697 fatal boating injuries in 2005. Alcohol is said to have played a significant role in about a quarter of boating accidents.

Inexperience, excessive speed, and reckless operation are among the top reasons for boating accidents. Although fast is fun, it is also dangerous if you are not fully aware of your surroundings and well versed in how the watercraft you are using operates. There are countless water safety courses available, and if you are new to water sports then I strongly suggest you take the time to read up on the subject and take a course to familiarize yourself with the sport.

The latest victim of water sporting accidents to hit national news was R&B singer Usher’s stepson, Kile Glover. He was tubing with his family when a jet skier lost control of their machine and collided with Kile and his tube. Kile died from the injuries he sustained in that accident. This is just another tragic case of how a little caution could have gone a long way. If you are boating, jet skiing, or participating in any other water sport, you must give swimmers and other boaters a wide berth. If you are too close to someone else and they fall overboard, or you lose control of the boat/jet ski, then tragedy is likely to be the end result.

What safety practices do you follow when you are out on the water?

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