Keeping it safe on the water

Memorial Day is just one week away and many South Mississippians plan to spend the holiday out on Coast waters, but a day of fun in the sun could turn into a tragedy in the blink of an eye.

News 25’s Toni Miles sheds light on tips for keeping loved ones safe as boating season kicks into full gear and how local businesses are pitching in to help South Mississippians suit up for boating safety.

Like the weather, in a matter of seconds, a fun boating holiday can turn into a tragedy. This is just one reason why the Department of Marine Resources is getting out on the front end as they prepare for one of the busiest boating holidays of the year. Captain Patrick Levine with the Department of Marine Resources said, “This weekend, it’s going to be all hands on deck. There’s going to be enforcement everywhere.”

In the state of Mississippi, children 12 and under must be wearing a life jacket at all times on the water, all adults on the boat must also have a lifejacket that fits properly. DMR officials tell News 25 this could mean the difference between life and death. “In 80 percent of accidents involving a fatality, drowning was the cause. In 83 percent of those the victim was not wearing a lifejacket. When you’re considering a lifejacket, there are some things you need to do. First of all, it needs to be readily accessible. If there were a boating accident, you need to be able to get to it. Number two, it needs to be the right size for the intended wearer. They come in different sizes. Third thing, it has to be in good condition. You want to be able to depend on that thing in the situation when you need it.”

Thanks to Riemann Family Funeral Homes and a grant from the Sea Tow Foundation, you can find the perfect fit at the Gulfport Small Craft Harbor. A life vest stand has been set up for anyone who needs a loaner jacket. It’s a stand boating safety advocates hope will be around for the long haul. Chad Riemann said, “We are also accepting donations for other donations so we can perpetually keep the stand there. Who knows, the one hanging in your garage may be the one that saves a life one day.”

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