Scott Provvidenza loves being on his boat. And on his boat, even his dogs have life jackets. He says he takes water safety very seriously.
“On my boat, I take more responsibility for all the other boaters and the people on my boat, and my team. And a lot of unforeseen things can happen quickly,” said Provvidenza.
And heading into this summer, that’s a mindset the Coast Guard hopes all boaters will keep in mind.
In addition to making sure everyone always wears a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while out on the water, Chief Petty Officer Matt Riesberg says a radio should always be on hand, which can be more reliable than a cell phone.
“It’s a little bit easier to have a life jacket on and go into the water to increase your chances of survival,” Riesberg said. “It becomes extremely difficult to put this on when you’re in the water, in case there’s an even more difficult injury. It increases our chances of finding you, keeping you afloat, and making sure you get home to your loved ones.”
And that radio you have on hand should be set to channel 16.
“Channel 16 is monitored throughout the lake, down to our Canadian partners as well. People around you will listen, we will listen to you, and we can even triangulate your position if you use them,” Riesberg added.
President of Advanced Life Support Syed Ahmed Mustafa says to always stay hydrated and watch out for signs of heat stroke.
“Once you stop sweating and start getting a major headache, almost to the point of potentially passing out, you are now having heat stroke. That is an absolute medical emergency and someone on your boat should call 911 and we should get you help,” Mustafa said.
And they both say never drive a boat while intoxicated, like a car.
“There are no brakes on a boat, you cannot slow down. So you’re going too fast, your reaction time is slower, you’re going to hit something. That something could be someone on the water, it could be a personal watercraft, it could be a jet ski, it could be a dock, it could be a dock,” Mustafa said.
But notice Scott, a boat is actually a lot harder to drive than a car.
“You are paying attention to more, what is below you and what is in front of you. Unlike a car, which is right in front of you. Here you have obstacles in the water, deep in the water. You have depth to worry about,” Provvidenza said.
She’s looking forward to this summer, but she knows there’s a trade-off between fun and safety.
“Enjoy the day, but also be on the lookout for any unforeseen challenges,” Provvidenza said.
To learn more about safe boating and even get boater certifications or take a boating safety course, visit parks.ny.gov.