PACIFIC and CLATSOP COUNTIES - The largest recreational boating safety operation in this area is upon us again.

During the Columbia River Buoy 10 salmon fishery in August and early September, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary members will be working at boat ramps north and south of the Columbia River handing out safe boating packets and speaking to boaters and their families and friends about the dangers of the area, and the importance of wearing life jackets. Auxiliary members from four states will be on hand to assist in getting the message out about safe boating and safe practices.

Patrols and boardings will be increased this year, not only from the Coast Guard, but also from local law enforcement agencies.

The following recommendations will help keep you safe:

1. Wear your life jackets and make sure they fit you, your passengers and crew. Remember, life jackets float, people don't!

2. Carry a VFH-FM marine radio.

3. File a float plan. Let people know where you are going and when you plan to return.

4. Carry non-expired flares and know how to use them.

5. Always check the weather, including the bar and tide conditions. No fish is worth a life.

6. Load your boat properly.

7. Make sure your boat is in good mechanical condition. A boat that quits running is at the mercy of the sea and river.

8. Don't boat and drink. If you do, you may end up having your boat impounded and you might get arrested. It's not worth it.

9. Make sure your drain plug is properly installed in your boat.

10. Take a safe boating class. It is a must. You will learn a lot about keeping safe on the water.

11. Also it is important to remember - there is no place on the water for water rage. Always try to back away from trouble.

The list goes on and on. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is proud of the fact that since their safety education and inspections have increased, fatalities have decreased. On the Washington side of river the following statistics apply:

Incident 2001 2002 2003 2004

Fatalities 7 1 1 0

Rescue Calls 315 186 302 222

Safety Packets 0 4,000 4,100 3,000

Personal Contacts 0 15,000 15,100 14,000

The Coast Guard and the Auxiliary care about you and your families. Our motto is, the life we save may be yours. Let's try for another zero fatality year. Enjoy the Buoy 10 season and catch a lot of fish.

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