Fourth of July water safety

Published 4:41 am Thursday, July 5, 2007

By By Adam Prestridge
Today, thousands of area residents will flock to lakes across the state to celebrate the Fourth of July.
The smell of barbecue will fill the air while the sound of boats and personal watercraft are heard amid the laughter of children, while they splash into the cool water from piers.
The Fourth is a time to celebrate our country's birthday and express our patriotism. The holiday isn't a time to celebrate the life of a loved one after he or she is killed in a boating or personal watercraft accident.
Personal watercrafts and boats are not toys and can cause death or serious injury if not driven responsibly. Unfortunately there are several water related deaths each July Fourth.
Below are some tips provided by Children's Hospital that can prevent boating accidents:
A personal watercraft is a powerboat and drivers and passengers are subject to the same safe boating concerns and regulations as other boaters.
A waterjet pump rather than an external propeller powers personal watercrafts, which keep passengers safe from deadly propellers. They are operated by a person positioned on a craft rather than within the confines of the hull. This could cause serious injury to a rider if they drive irresponsibly and are thrown from the watercraft.
Some PWC's are designed for single riders and others are made for two or more people. It can be dangerous to riders if they do not abide by the manufacturer's occupant capacity.
Most PWC injuries result from collisions caused by rider carelessness, overconfidence and inexperience.
Here are a few road rules while driving a boat or PWC:
Hopefully a few of the tips above will help refresh the memories of boaters and PWC riders and prevent the injury or death of a local resident this holiday.
Adam Prestridge is publisher of The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123.

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