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Boating safety

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Updated: 3/27/2003 3:45 pm
Personal flotation devices are simple, affordable, and accessible life – saving devices that are familiar to just about everybody. Unfortunately, many boaters are still not wearing life jackets. When an accident occurs and a boater is thrown into the water, if he or she is not wearing a lifejacket, the likelihood of a drowning is great – particularly if the person has been injured in the fall, has been drinking, lacks the skills or strength to stay afloat, or if the water is cold. More than 77 percent of all fatalities on the water involve people who don't wear lifejackets. According to the u.s. coast guard, the three most important points are always wear a lifejacket, alcohol and water don't mix, and all boaters should take a course in boat safety. You are legally responsible for the safety of those on your boat, and just like driving a car, if you don't know and obey the rules, ignorance is not a valid defense. One of the most basic 'rules of the road' is when in close proximity of each other, vessels are said to be 'privileged' or 'burdened.' the privileged vessel need not give way but has the duty to keep her course and speed. It is the duty of the burdened vessel to keep out of the way. In general, a sailing vessel is privileged in relation to a powerboat.

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