Tips for Assisting Fellow Boaters in Distress

June 3, 2004

With a new boating season, skippers on the water have the possibility of happening across a boater in distress. The majority of boaters are stranded because their engine is out of fuel, overheated, or has some other disabling condition.

Here are some basics supplies that can come in handy during an emergency:

• A first-aid kit
• Blanket
• Extra life jackets
• A cell phone
• VHF Marine Radio (remember channel 16 is a calling and distress
frequency only)

If it's a hot day the skipper and passengers of the distressed vessel will be anxious for a tow but it's important to follow these safety guidelines to prevent mishaps:

• Do not take the vessel in tow unless absolutely necessary and then only
take it to the nearest safe mooring.
• If the distressed vessel is taking on water request that the passengers
put on Personal Floatation Devices (PFD), and then transfer them to your
boat.
• If the vessel needs to be abandoned, anchor away from the channel and
take the passengers to shore or stand by until assistance arrives.
• Notify your nearest United States Coast Guard Station or the 24-hour
DNREC Communications Dispatch, 1-800-539-3336 and tell them the nature of
distress, approximate position, number of people onboard and description
of the vessel.

All persons born after January 1, 1978 are required to take a boating safety course. The course is available throughout the year call Sgt. Greg Rhodes, boating safety coordinator, 302-739-3486. A class schedule is available at Fish and Wildlife's homepage, www.dnrec.state.de.us/fw , click on "Boating Safety Classes" and then on "Boating Safety Class Schedules."

For more information or to enter a tournament, call (270) 252-1000 or browse the
FLW Outdoors website
.

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