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Rob: That was awesome. You guys want to take a spin around the lake?
The person behind the camera nods in agreement and moves to start the boat’s motor.
Kary-Ann: Whoa, hold on there, cowboy. Yes, we all want to get back, but going fast before everyone is ready could prevent us from getting back at all. OK, here’s the deal.
Haley: One of the leading causes of boating fatalities is victims falling overboard. That’s why we don’t take off until everyone in the boat, especially the operator, is wearing their life jacket and seated securely. And we stay off the gunwale, bow, deck, and seat backs.
Kary-Ann: OK, let’s try that again. Everybody seated? Good. Now let’s just go at a safe speed. Going a safe speed depends on a lot of things. How much boat traffic is there? What obstacles might be out there? How windy is it? How rough is the water? What’s the visibility? How does your boat handle? The safe speed is the speed that ensures you’ll have plenty of time to avoid a collision, or that you can stop within a safe distance of something.
The person behind the camera releases the boat’s steering wheel and goes to get a drink from a cooler.
Haley: Hands on the wheel. That is one of the big causes of boating accidents. If you’re not paying complete attention, and you’re the one operating the boat, you shouldn’t be moving at all. It’s totally natural to want to relax while cruising along on the water. But it’s those lapses in attention that contribute to collisions. And rules are there for a reason—so that everyone knows what they’re responsible for. So be sure to pay complete attention and appoint someone else on board as your secondary lookout.
Know and follow the navigation rules, use extra caution when making turns, heading into the sun’s glare, or boating at night. Watch and anticipate the actions of others in the water: swimmers, divers, fishermen, personal watercraft, other boats, you name it.
Rob turns and looks with concern at the person behind the camera, who appears to be affected by the heat, his vision swimming.
Rob: You look fried. And that’s not good. All right, let me drive. The sun, heat, dehydration, wind, waves, and motion on the water all contribute to fatigue out here. And because we’re having fun, we usually don’t recognize it, or we underestimate it. So we need to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water and switch operators when we get tired. And we take some time to chill, get out of the sun, and get some fluids.
The person behind the camera offers Rob a beer.
Haley: It’s tempting, but that’s for later, when we’re done boating, and we’re back on solid ground. Mixing a fun day on the water with drugs or alcohol can lead to an increased chance of you being in a boating accident or fatality, reckless behavior and poor judgment, your chances of getting ticketed, fined, or thrown in jail. So if you’re of legal age, it’s best to wait until your boating is over, and you’re back on solid ground.
Kary-Ann: It all really comes down to common sense. Weather conditions, water conditions, and other boaters can be unpredictable. So a big part of avoiding accidents is doing everything in your power to stay alert and aware.
Rob: That’s right. All right, let’s head home.
Kary-Ann: All right.