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Coast Guard stresses boating safety for Memorial Day weekend

May 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Memorial Day weekend offers many boaters the first chance of the summer to hit the water, but the Coast Guard reminds us it's also a good opportunity to brush up on boating safety.

The Coast Guard held a special rescue demonstration Thursday in San Pedro, showing what would happen in an emergency.

In the simulation, a Coast Guard helicopter hovered over a boat and went through a rescue scenario where they lowered down a metal cage to save passengers aboard a distressed boat.

"This is what happens in an emergency when you don't have your equipment, something happens to your boat, you get in an accident. This is probably the end result," described Petty Officer Phillip Otero.

Memorial Day is typically the start of the summer boating season and a lot of traffic is expected out on the water.

"BUIs is a big thing that we're enforcing out there, which is boating under the influence," said Otero.

The Coast Guard will be out in the water over the boating season, checking for impaired boaters and making sure life jackets are used.

In nearly 80 percent of boating fatalities, victims were not wearing life jackets. Among those victims, 59 percent had a blood alcohol level of .04 percent.

The Coast Guard will be conducting random boat checks and issuing citations if needed, trying to prevent situations that could prompt a rescue.

Coast Guard officials also underlined the importance of having a life vest at hand at all times while on a boat. It is mandatory for children under 14 years old to wear a life vest while out on the water.

Officer Trent Kelly emphasized that adults should make certain life vests are positioned properly on children, ensuring they are on snug so they don't fall off.

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