Officials Urge Boating Caution During Boat Show - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/28/05

Officials Urge Boating Caution During Boat Show

Can't wait for warmer weather when you can get out on the water? There's a taste of boating season coming this weekend, the International Boat Show at the trade center on Hutchinson Island.

Savannah International Boat Show

Friday March 4, 12pm-7pm
Saturday March 5, 10am-7pm
Sunday March 6, 11am-6pm

www.SavannahInternationalBoatShow.com

Tickets are $7 for adults and $2 for kids 3-12

Hundreds of boats are expected to be docked along or out on the Savannah River, so boaters need to be extra cautious.

We had a chance to talk safety with the Coast Guard Auxiliary this afternoon, and with the additional traffic expected on the Savannah River, they say boaters really need to make sure they're prepared for emergencies.

Boating is quite common in the Coastal Empire, but if you're unprepared, your trip on the water could turn deadly. "You've got to realize we've got lots of rivers here, 20 rivers in Chatham County and they're going at two, sometimes four knots, which you can't even swim against," said Barry Shrum with the Red Cross.

The Coast Guard says with the upcoming boat show, more boaters on the water means the possibility of more catastrophes.

"The water temperature right now, you can probably, if you're lucky, last about 15 minutes in the water before you just give up," said Shrum.

Many times, people have to be rescued because they forget to bring the simplest things like extra fuel and proper clothing. "No radio, that's a big one," said Matt Laub with the US Coast Guard. "You can't talk to a boat with no radio, and a lot of guys go out unprepared without radios and countless times I've gone out on cases with no life jacket, no PFDs, just unprepared."

According to the Coast Guard, 70 percent of boating fatalities are from people drowning because they fail to do this one simple thing, put on a life jacket. Another problem they run into: drunk drivers.

"A lot of people drink on the waters and they don't bring water, no food and the same with drinking and driving, it's a bad combo," said Laub. "People can do very stupid things when they're drinking."

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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