Inspection is a Key at the Start of the Boating Season

Monday, June 4, 2012

Members of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary's Cheboygan Flotilla boarded the Robin Too for a courtesy inspection at the Cheboygan County Marina. Boat owner Bob Robbins welcomed the chance to ensure a safe summer on the water by checking his vessel's safety equipment.

The simplest action upon boarding a boat could save a life, say members of the U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in Cheboygan, MI.

Article by Mike Fornes. Reprinted with permission from the Cheboygan Daily Tribune.

“It is human nature to think, ‘it can’t happen to me’ but it can,” said Jim Ketchum, former Cheboygan Flotilla commander, while inspecting a boat at the Cheboygan County Marina. “The majority of people who drown in boating accidents know how to swim, but become incapacitated in the water. Sometimes they are injured or unconscious; others develop hypothermia or become exhausted. Some are weighed down by clothing. Accidents happen so fast and the life jackets are often not within reach. They are in storage areas, trapped under the vessel, or floating away in the water.”

Ketchum was accompanied by several volunteers who performed a courtesy inspection on the Robin Too, a 29-foot Sea Ray cabin cruiser owned by Bob Robbins. The group was on hand to ensure that the vessel has all necessary safety equipment to enjoy another summer of boating.

Ketchum said the facts tell a story that needn’t be told if boaters of all ages wore life jackets. He pointed out that among 2010 boating accidents recorded nationwide, 88 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

“Some people think that life jackets make them feel too hot or are uncomfortable,” he added. “There are many new style life jackets on the market that are light weight, low-profile, inflatable, and very comfortable. It just makes sense.”

“A U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket is a boater’s most important piece of personal safety equipment,” said Frank Jennings Jr., recreational boating and water safety program manager for the 9th Coast Guard District, based in Cleveland. “Wearing a life jacket can mean the difference between life and death when boating. A lot of boaters are alive today because they chose to wear their life jacket whenever they got underway.”

 “Convincing boaters to voluntarily wear life jackets and adopt safe boating practices is an ongoing challenge,” said Rear Adm. Mike Parks, commander of the 9th Coast Guard District. “I’m a life-long boater and understand the risks one faces on the water because I’ve spent much of my career at sea. The Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary are committed to educating boaters on ways they can increase their margin of safety when on the water with family and friends.”

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Cheboygan Flotilla boarded the Robin Too for a courtesy inspection Monday at the Cheboygan County Marina. Boat owner Bob Robbins welcomed the chance to ensure a safe summer on the water by checking his vessel’s safety equipment.

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