NORFOLK, Va. - Are you planning on heading out in the water for the Memorial Day weekend festivities?
If so, pay attention - there are important things you need to know in order to keep you and your family safe.
So here are a couple things to keep in mind out on the water:
First, make sure you plan ahead by having your boat stocked with important safety gear. That includes signaling devices , a marine radio and most importantly life jackets.
Drowning is a major concern as most victims were not wearing life jackets while swimming and boating.
“I've done search and rescue operations on both the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards, as well as the great lakes, when a man, woman or child accidentally goes into the water without a life jacket on, the results are overwhelmingly tragic. these things float. you don't,” Coast Guard Master chief Stephen Atchley said.
Atchley says your kids not only need to wear a life jacket but wear the right size life jacket too.
Next, watch your speed especially in no wake zones.
Boats colliding with other boats tops the chart for the most common type of accident on the water.
Make sure the person behind the wheel isn't drinking.
The first conviction of a BUI is a mandatory 250 dollars fine and your driver's license is suspended for a year.
The U.S. Coast Guard says all children under 13-years-old are required to wear a life jacket at all times.
Life jacket buckles should be snapped together and straps tucked in.
Keep sun screen on your kids and make sure they stay hydrated.
Once you're on board the U.S Coast Guard warns children should always be supervised.
"You just don't want to have them kind of free roaming around the boat especially when the boat is in motion and especially on the bow."
Make sure equipment including radios and boat anchors are working and of course, have fun!