Commissioner Causey stresses water and boating safety ahead of Fourth of July


Ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, NC Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey is urging everyone to take extra precautions during one of the most popular water recreational times of the year.

“Independence Day is a great opportunity to celebrate our freedom on the water with friends, family and neighbors,” Commissioner Causey said. “Beaches, lakes and waterways will be crowded 4th of July weekend. Many of us will be either in the water or on watercraft. It’s important to remember to be safe and responsible as you head out on the boat, jet ski, kayak or as you swim during these celebrations.

“We’ve had far too many water deaths and close calls this year,” Commissioner Causey continued. “According to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, there have been 37 boating incidents in North Carolina so far in 2024, and seven have been fatal.”

Of those 19 accidents, 17 were not wearing a life jacket.

It is important to remember these boating safety reminders:

1.    Always wear a life jacket. Make sure EVERYONE on board has a life jacket that is serviceable, properly sized, correctly fastened, and suitable for your activity. Adults and children should always wear a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard while on boats or jet skis, around open bodies of water or when participating in other water sports. Make sure the life jacket fits snugly. Have the child make a “touchdown” signal by raising both arms straight up; if the life jacket hits the child’s chin or ears, it may be too big, or the straps may be too loose.

2.    Don’t drink and boat. It is illegal to operate a boat while intoxicated, in North Carolina or any other state. A large portion of boating accidents each year involve alcohol consumption by both boat operators and passengers. To keep you and your loved ones safe, it is highly recommended not to drink alcoholic beverages while boating.

3.    Learn CPR. We know you have a million things to do, but learning CPR should be on the top of the list. Especially when operating watercrafts. It will give you tremendous peace of mind – and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better. Local hospitals, fire departments and recreation departments offer CPR training. 

4.    Use an engine cut-off device: An engine cut-off device is a proven safety device to stop the boat or jet ski’s engine if the operator unexpectedly falls overboard.

5.    Use caution when towing a skier.

6.    Be careful when around swimmers.

7.    Always carry the required safety equipment, such as a first aid kit, emergency flares, beacon lights, etc.

The beaches will be crowded this summer. Remember to pay attention to the warning flags at the beach that indicate the possibility of rip currents. A rip current’s force is strong enough to pull even the strongest swimmer out to sea. 

1.    If caught in a rip current, stay calm, don’t fight the current and escape the current by swimming in a direction parallel to the shoreline. 

2.    If at any time you are unable to reach the shore, draw attention to yourself and call for help.

3.    Most people believe a drowning person involves flailing arms or frantic calls for help, but that is not the case. Drowning happens quietly when a helpless person is unable to take a breath.

Recently, Commissioner Causey joined the Surf City Fire and Ocean Rescue Team and Surf City Mayor Teresa Batts to highlight how to stay safe on the water this summer.

View our video from Surf City.

View our boating safety video for more boating safety tips.
 



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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.