Ways to stay safe boating during Fourth of July weekend

Local

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The nice weather this holiday weekend could equal more people hitting the waters, but safety measures are important to keep in mind this Fourth of July weekend.

The Executive Director of Chemung River Friends, Jim Pfiffer, said to make sure you wear a vest if you decide to go boating, kayaking or canoeing.

“The biggest one is wear your life vest,” said Pfiffer. “It’s sitting on the floor of the boat, it’s not going to help you. You’re not going to have time to put it on before you get into trouble, it’s like not wearing your seatbelt saying, ‘I’ll put it on before I hit the car.’ So wearing a life vest, and keeping it buckled up, that’s the most important.”

Other than wearing a vest, he said to dress for the weather. With sunshine throughout this weekend, light can reflect off the water. So he said to watch out for dehydration and sunburns which can happen easily in this situation.

The Chemung County Sheriff, Bill Schrom, also highlights boating safety for this weekend. He said to not underestimate the waters.

“I think part of it’s inexperience people feel they can just throw a canoe or a small boat in the water and just do it, it looks easy,” said Schrom. “How they don’t understand the importance of being able to navigate the water-ways. And certainly if you throw alcohol on top of that, you’re just creating a bigger issue with that.”

In the situation that a kayak or canoe flips, Sheriff Shrom said to stay near or on the vessel as it’s easier to see and rescue. To contribute, Pfiffer said it’s also smart to practice this type of situation in case it were to happen.

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