TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – Dave Corrigan and his family just bought a new boat and they can’t wait to get out on the water for the 4th of July holiday.
“We’ve had the boat about two weeks now and this is probably our sixth time out,” he said. The Corrigan’s are smart because they boat safely. “You can’t have fun if you’re not safe,” he says. “And because of that we all took a safety course to make sure we were all safe to go out on the water.”
Even Dave’s young son Shane knows what boat safety is all about. “People should boat safely without crashing and be able to save someone if they go overboard,” he warns. Florida Fish and Wildlife Officer Baryl Martin reminds all boaters of of the rules: make sure to have your registration, a proper fire extinguisher, a throwable life ring and necessary flares if going to deeper water. “Have a life jacket for every person on board and it has to fit that person,” he warns.
Rocky and Tanya Veitschegger of Tampa are glad they packed their life jackets on this trip. “When we got on he was telling our friends, the life jackets are up there,” Tanya said. “I said we’re not going down. We won’t be needing them.” But having them not only helps save a life, it saved the Veitschegger’s $100 in fines. Officer Martin reminds boaters who willl be out at night to be aware. “Check your navigational lights, make sure everything is working and if you don’t know where you’re going, just slow down,” he said.
One of the most important things to be prepared for may not even be in the boat, but rather, up in the sky. During our trip on the water, the weather changed in a matter of minutes. Officer Martin says many boaters wait to long to head in when the weather turns. “They aren’t prepared for it or they think they can outrun it,” he explains. Bottom line: Martin says if you see lighting, it’s a good idea to start heading for shore.