Keeping Safe On The Water This Spring - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Keeping Safe On The Water This Spring

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Clarks Hill, SC -

"In the U.S. Annually, we have about 750 deaths that result from boating accidents," Jon Van Osdol with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary explains.

As the Spring rolls in, Van Osdol and the Coast Guard Auxiliary spring into action early

Offering classes to teach "the very basic things you need to know to be safe on the water."

They do this through lessons like signaling, right-of-way and even defensive driving.

And as traffic on the water increases with the temperature, these beautiful waters can quickly turn into nightmares. That's why the Coast Guard Auxiliary encourages you to know the rules of the water like the rules of the road.

"Just like driving a car, if you don't know the rules of the road, you could get in trouble or hurt somebody or even hurt yourself," adds Mark Conner, future boater.

So, what are the water's rules of driver's education?

"What boat gives way to another in a crossing situation, how to use your signaling devices like horns and lights and just basically rules that are standard pretty much throughout the boating industry," Van Osdol outlines.

And boating under the influence, much like on the road, can get you a B-U-I.

"If you think having a designated driver is important in an automobile, it's in spades on boats," Van Osdol cautions.

 Van Osdol believes awareness of these issues could reduce water accidents and deaths...

That's what brought Christy Gray to the class.

"I have 3 small children at home that I want to make sure that if I was out on the water with them that I personally would be able to take care of my kids along with myself," says Gray.

Increasing awareness while decreasing the more than 700 water sport deaths a year.

"If we could get people to not drink and boat, and to post a look out and to wear a life preserver, we cut that down to about 200 a year," Van Osdol leaves us with.

To learn more about the Coast Guard Auxiliary or more water safety tips, visit http://www.cgaux.org/.

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