Saturday, June 04, 2005

Boating Tips?

Burlington, Vermont - June 3, 2005 Warm weather finally means the launch of boating season. And on a beautiful day, safety may not be the first thing on boaters' minds. So before you head out full speed ahead, the Coast Guard auxiliary says to check your boat. "Make sure the boat is in good mechanical condition, obviously, you don't want to get out in the middle of the water and need help. There aren't that many gas stations out there," says Vice Captain Rod Halsted of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Halsted says boats should have a working fire extinguisher, an anchor and enough line, navigational lights, flares, and a marine radio or cell phone to call the coast guard for help. And, of course, enough life jackets for everyone on board. Vermont state law requires all kids under 12 to wear life jackets. But not all of them do, all of the time. "On a really nice hot day, life jackets aren't necessarily the most comfortable thing to wear all the time, particularly if you're a young kid, you don't understand why you should be wearing them," says Halsted. So the Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies are offering an incentive for kids who wear them. Coupons for free Happy Meals at McDonald's. "This just gives them a reward for doing the right thing, doing the safe thing and that's important." And hopefully, it will keep kids around to become veteran boaters themselves.

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