CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines, sailors and their families here participate in various water sports and activities including fishing, boating, and water skiing each summer and are reminded to exercise proper safety while doing so.
Applying risk management when planning each and every summertime activity is essential for maintaining our Marine Corps combat readiness.
Many off-duty service members own or ride personal watercraft, which are small vessel that uses an internal combustion engine powering a jet pump or a propeller.
It is designed to carry one to three persons, and to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel.
Its use is subject to all state, local and federal regulations governing the operation of powerboats of similar size.
Familiarize yourself with your vessel before operating it on the water. Preparation should include these steps:
· Read the owner's manual. If available, take advantage of the dealer's educational program on vessel operation.
· Practice starting and stopping the engine safety.
· Learn the local rules governing boating and the "rules of the road" before climbing aboard your watercraft.
Free Boating Safety Classes, explaining required and recommended equipment for small boats and offering training in good seamanship, are offered throughout California by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the U.S. Power Squadrons and certain chapters of the American Red Cross.
Some safety tips for riding are:
· Check your equipment, fuel level and weather conditions before you start.
· Let someone on shore know where you will be heading and when you will return.
· Watch for hazards, floating and submerged obstructions, tidal conditions and observe local boating regulations.
· Go slowly near shore and drive defensively in congested areas where collisions most frequently occur.
· Always look around for other traffic before beginning turns.
· Avoid sudden course changes near other boaters or swimmers.
· Never operate between a skier and the ski boat; a moving towline can cut like a knife. The display of a red flag by boaters indicates a skier or equipment in the water.
· Avoid overexposure to sun and cold water. Quit before fatigue sets in.
· Never venture out on the water during a storm; if a storm threatens, proceed to a safe location at once.
· Because your PWC is not equipped with running lights, operating after dark is illegal. Never ride between sunset and sunrise or at other times of reduced visibility.
· NEVER DRINK AND THEN DRIVE YOUR PWC.
Studies show that alcohol is a factor in 59% of all motorboat and watercraft fatalities. Alcohol impairs judgment, coordination and concentration. A person arrested for operating a PWC "under the influence" may be requested to take a test to determine blood alcohol concentration. Refusal may result in increased penalties if convicted.
Service members who plan to ride this summer are encouraged to read Marine Corps Traffic Safety Program, (MCO 5100.19F), Off Duty Recreation Order (MCO 5100.30B) and Heat Injury Prevention MCO 6200.1E.
Most of the incidents that can occur in off-duty activities can be anticipated and avoided.
Service members are reminded that forces are affected just as drastically by an off-duty mishap as by one occurring at work or in combat.
The summertime season, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, is typically when more off-duty mishaps and traffic deaths occur than any other time of the year.
This is a time when many Marines are on the road traveling from one duty station to the next, riding or buying motorcycles with little to no recent experience, visiting family, and attending beach parties, cookouts and other summer events.
Combining summer fun with alcohol consumption, hot weather, not enough rest and high-risk activities can be a dangerous, and even deadly, combination.
Marines are reminded that they have a responsibility to prepare for and go into combat at any time.
At home, they have a mission on a more personal level to be there for your family, friends, fellow Marines and to prevent tragedies that occur when people do not manage risk properly and make poor decisions.
Additional safety information can be found at:
· www.dbw.ca.gov (click Safety & Education on the HOME Bar).
· http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/ (click Summer Safety Campaign Resources link).
· http://www.americancanoe.org/?page=Top_10 (TIPS 7 & 10 a – must read).