Coast Guard offers tips to help keep you safe during boating season

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It's Memorial Day Weekend and many boaters decided to hit the water for the first time of the year.

"This is our first outing of the year. We pulled it out of storage and got it all cleaned up," said boater Hedgewick Gall.

Gall launches his boat into the water for what he hopes to be a safe season of boating.

"You always have to have a look at the horizon above you and in front of you and there's always boats coming across," said Gall.

But what's on the inside of the boat could be more dangerous than what's on the outside

"You obviously can not over consume," said Boater, Henry Jaros when asked about drinking while on the water.

It's also the first day on the water for Jaros and his family. One of their biggest concerns while on the water are other drivers who may be under the influence.

"It's a big no no. You always have to be able to comply with the law so you have to obviously watch what you consume so you can do that," said Jaros.

"It's just like drunk driving. Don't do it, but not everyone practices safe boating all the time," said Gall.

According to recent stats, alcohol is responsible for about 1/3rd of all fatal boating accidents nationwide. But even if you don't die, drinking while boating can still get you in some serious trouble.

"There's laws that go along with that and you have to comply and be a safe boater," said Jaros.

According to Ohio Boating Law,  passengers can consume alcohol while on board, but it's illegal for the operator to be under the influence whatsoever... Gall says it's a rule that he's followed every single time that he's stepped foot on his boat.

"Never do it. We have beverages on board but nothing alcoholic," said Gall.

Here are a few tips from the Coast Guard to help keep you safe now and in the upcoming boating season:

-Never go out on the water or ice alone. Proper precautions should always be taken before heading out on the water or the ice.

-Before making your first trip out onto the water this spring, be sure to ensure seaworthiness of your vessel and inspect it thoroughly.

-Ensure the boat drain plugs are properly installed.

-Inspect the hull for wear and tear that may have occurred over the long winter season.

-Check the readiness of all your survival and safety equipment.

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