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Staying safe for the biggest boating weekend of the year

Keeping you safe out on the water

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — This holiday weekend marks the biggest boating weekend of the year, and with it, comes the need for increased water safety precautions.

“We get out and we almost kind of lose that sense of responsibility and our situational awareness,” Bargersville Fire Department Public Information Officer Kaleb Buchanan said. “When you lose that, that’s when we start seeing accidents happen, fatalities, and bad things happen.”

July is the number one month for drowning deaths in the U.S. and remains the number one cause of death for children between one and four years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is also unlike other threats, as it typically happens quietly.

“Drowning is silent, it can take five minutes to drown, it’s not like when you fall off your bike and you’re screaming for help,” Buchanan said.

In order to keep drownings from happening, Buchanan suggested boaters take a few intentional steps to ensure their loved ones stay safe.

Boaters should be sure to encourage anyone on the water wear bright colored swimsuits, which aids in easily identifying anyone in trouble.

Additionally, Buchanan says anyone on a boat should wear a U.S. Coast Guard certified life jacket.

“On a boat, it’s really important to have those life jackets, coast guard approved life jackets,” Buchanan said. “You know, it’s not the cool thing to do, to wear those life jackets, but it’s gonna save you in the end.”

Next, be sure to never swim alone and ensure your phone is charged.

“Never swim alone, never swim alone, because emergencies happen, medical emergencies happen,” Buchanan said. “If you go underwater, and you’re by yourself, most people don’t swim with their cell phones in their hands or in their pocket.”

Finally, be smart about alcohol consumption as it can easily alter situational awareness.

Buchanan also suggested boaters keep a first aid kit on board.