Boating Safety Tips

Chuck Fort
Chuck Fort

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Many Hawaii residents take advantage of living near the water. They own boats and spend a lot of time on the high seas.

But they often leave safety measures behind.

Boat expert Chuck Fort says people mistakenly see their boat the same way they see their car.

"They just jump in and they turn on the key and they go," he said. "And they forget to have maybe the life jackets and if they break down somewhere, they forget they can't just call AAA and have someone tow them back in."

Boaters who take safety for granted are the ones who often run into trouble. Fort works with BoatU.S., the country's largest recreational boating association. This long-time boater reveals some surprising statistics.

He says nearly half of all outboards at the dock sink because of rain. It can clog the cockpit or weigh down the stern. He also says more than a third sink in the water after hitting an object.

Experts say the best thing to do to prevent an accident, is to use some common sense before heading out to the water.

"You have to pay attention. A lot of the boats sink because people are always in the back of the boat and it starts to backflood and before anyone knows what's happening that boat starts to sink," said Fort.

He advises people to constantly check on their boat. If they do, chances are, they won't receive bad news from the Harbormaster.

Fort will speak at the Boat Safety Expo on Saturday, May 19, at Keehi Boat Harbor.