Here’s some safety tips for national safe boating week

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 5:52 PM EDT
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HINTON, W.Va. (WVVA) - Summers County, home of Bluestone State Park.

Many boaters from the Two Virginias come here to enjoy some time on the water.

But this activity also comes with some risks.

Tim Adkins, Chief Deputy of The Summers County Sheriff’s Office says “These rivers down here, they can be deceitful at times. So there are parts of the river like up towards Indian Mill, Indian Creek, where you’re standing up to your chest in one section and you take two steps and you’re in eight foot of water.”

The key to safety on the water starts before you even get wet.

Plan ahead by telling someone where you’re going, and what you’ll be doing.

Or better yet, bring a friend.

You’ll also want to make sure to protect your cell phone.

Chief Deputy Adkins says “Place your cell phone in a dry bag that seals, so water can’t get to it, and tether that to you somehow. That way when you do get to shore, you have your phone, you can retrieve your phone and make a phone call, call 9-1-1, do whatever you have to do.”

Ensure that anyone who steps on a boat is wearing a life jacket. Your most important safety tool on the water.

Once you’re on the boat, you’ll want to be aware of your surroundings.

The main thing to do, whether you fall out of boat or a kayak, is to stay calm.

Once you catch your breath, swim to shore and call for help.

And just in case you end up on the water at night, Chief deputy Adkin says you’ll want to pack a little something extra.

“If you have your phone in a dry bag, put flares in a dry bag too. Because if we have to look for you, yes we have lights, but unless you’re wearing bright colors, it can be difficult to spot someone.”

Another thing to keep in mind is how the environment affects you.

Overexposure to the sun and dehydration can weaken your body and increase the risk of an accident.

One more thing to thing to protect yourself on the water is avoid alcohol and drug consumption.

Just like as if you are on the road, you want to avoid anything that may impair your senses.