PACIFIC COUNTY - Summer weather conditions draw thousands of recreational boaters to the water, which increases the chance of recreational boating accidents. In order to prevent accidents from occurring, especially during Buoy 10, the U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary urge boaters to follow a few simple boating safety tips:

Don't drink and boat. Boating while intoxicated is always a concern since alcohol is involved in over one third of all fatal boating accidents. Boaters are often unaware that, like driving a car, it is against the law to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol. At the very least, make sure a sober operator is aboard, just like a designated driver.

Know your limitations. A condition known as "boater fatigue" occurs when environmental conditions, such as sun, wind, noise, vibrations, and boat motion, combined with physical activity, contribute to dehydrating the body, which can multiple the effects of alcohol.

The key to safe boating lies in making the right choices, such as properly loading your boat, wearing your life jacket, operating at a safe speed, and avoiding alcohol. Making the right choice will dramatically improve the chances for a safe outing.

One item often overlooked is a boat plug. Many pleasure craft have taken on water and sunk as a result of not being plugged correctly or even plugged at all. Before getting underway, conduct a thorough check of your vessel to make sure you have the proper safety equipment and that everything is m place.

Boaters can get some assistance in ensuring they are properly prepared by taking advantage of some of the services offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, a voluntary organization dedicated to promoting safe boating. They offer a variety of safe boating courses as well as free vessel safety checks, which can help ensure a boat is property equipped.

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