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Coast Guard Floats Initiatives To Boost Boating Safety

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At least five people died in recreational boating or swimming related accidents this year in South Dakota.

Officials say more often than not, accidents like these are preventable. They say in most cases a violation of safety rules contributed to the loss of life.   

In an effort to reduce recreational boating accidents the U.S. Coast Guard is teaming up with both national and state institutions to revamp its boating safety programs.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s strategic plan for recreational boating safety extends from 2017 to 2021. Officials say it’s the third part in a series of five year programs designed to build on previous strategies.

Lisa Novak is with the USCG. She says the plan covers education, training, policy updates and new research on recreational boating.

“So those three areas, learning how to safely operate boats and watercraft, not drinking or even being impaired by such things as cold medicine while you’re operating a boat or watercraft, and making sure that everybody on your boat does wear a life jacket those are three very, very important initiatives nationwide, wherever you are,” says Novak.
 
Novak adds that individual states play a role in the strategic plan as well. She says each state will manage a boating safety program that utilizes law enforcement and boating safety classes.

She says a new plan works to increase recreational boating safety by binding old, successful methods with modern technologies.      

“This particular plan emphasizes reviewing current regulations and policies and also updating them to adapt to new and future technologies, now some of these are going to include but are not limited to educational outreach regarding engine cutoff switches, inflatable life jackets, and also personal locator beacons, which are also known as EPIRBS,” says Novak.

Novak says groups made up of federal and state government officials, nonprofit organizations, members of the recreational boating industry, and the public will work together to oversee the strategic plan.

 
 

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