CHICAGO — Boaters are getting ready to get out on the water as summer quickly approaches.
Due to a recent boating boom, boaters will likely have a lot of company as they set sail.
The marine industry reports a 34% increase in first-time boat ownership, which according to the U.S. Coast Guard leads to a 25% increase in boat-related accidents.
Staying safe on the water is more important than ever.
WGN News Now spoke with Ryan Remsing, owner of the local boat sharing business SailTime Chicago about National Safe Boating Week which runs from May 21 -27, 2022.
“Safety is a very important aspect of our sail train,” said Remsing. “We’ll go over several safety features, but the most important thing is to make sure you have everything you need on board.”
The U.S. Coast Guard requires certain items to be on board such as life jackets, air horns and flare kits. These are also items Remsing says their fleet carries onboard.
Remsing suggested several other items that are not Coast Guard required but will increase a person’s safety like a first aid kit, a tool kit, and sunscreen.
Remsing says one of the biggest mistakes he sees people make when heading out to the waters is not being prepared enough and then having to make a trip back to shore for whatever they’re missing.
“There are no 7-11s out on the water,” said Remsing. “If you did not bring it on the boat with you, you do not have it.”
If a boat becomes stranded on the waters and is having issues with the motor, occupants can contact Tow Boat U.S. and they can come to the rescue if a boat needs a jump or a tow back to shore. But if the emergency is greater like if the boat begins taking on water or if there’s a medical emergency, occupants can contact the Coast Guard via channel 16 on a marine radio. Remsing says people can also use distress signals like an air horn or a flare kit.