Monday, April 1, 2013

Have Fun But...Safety First on Lake Wedowee

News to Know
by Amanda Causey

There’s nothing better than enjoying a nice, relaxing day on Lake Wedowee. You may want to go fishing,  tubing, or even paddling on our gorgeous lake. We all like to have fun but please keep in mind the following tips to ensure your day on Lake Wedowee is fun but safe too. Having a great time doesn’t necessarily require a fast boat, just some common sense.

While tubing, skiing, wakeboarding follow these guidelines:

Always wear a properly fitted Coast Guard-approved life jacket for any tow sport activity. Select one that won’t ride up over your head and that provides adequate impact protection if you take a spill. 

Check your equipment carefully for wear and tear before use. Replace and discard components that show signs of deterioration.

Check out the area where you’ll be participating in tow sports ahead of time. Do not operate in shallow water, near the shoreline, or near docks, pilings, swimmers, and other watercraft.

 Always turn off your engine when a rider is entering or exiting the water. Besides the danger of a moving propeller, a boat’s exhaust can produce carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas that can be deadly.

Remember that a rider has no control of the boat or its speed, so be sure to go over hand signals with the rider before he or she gets in the water. This way, a rider can communicate if they wish to turn, slow down, or stop. 

For inflatable tubes and similar devices that allow for multiple riders, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on weight limit and maximum towing speed.
Although it is not required by law if using mirrors, a spotter is always the safest way to pull a rider. Your spotter should have constant visual contact with the rider and relay information to the boat operator.

The driver should always look ahead and be mindful of other waterway users. Use caution when crossing a wake or operating near other boats, docks, or the shore.
Always ski or ride within your limits. Operate or participate with control and at speeds appropriate for your ability. 

When possible, rinse your equipment with fresh water to keep it lasting longer, and coil your tow rope to prevent permanent kinks.

While kayaking, canoeing or paddling follow these safety tips

Always wear a life jacket (PFD), and know how to swim in a river current.

Never paddle alone. Bring along at least one other boater. When canoeing, two canoes with two canoeists each are recommended. Three crafts with two paddlers each are even better. If unfamiliar with the waterway, paddle with someone who is knowledgeable about it.

Never overload the craft. Tie down gear, and distribute weight evenly.

Maintain a low center of gravity and three points of contact. Keep your weight balanced over the center of the craft. 

Standing up or moving around in a small craft can cause it to capsize—a leading cause of fatalities among paddlers.

Stay alert at all times; and be aware of your surroundings, including nearby powerboats. Be prepared to react when dangerous situations arise.

Practice re-boarding your craft in the water with the help of a companion.
Dress properly for the weather and type of boating.

Map a general route and timetable when embarking on a long trip. Arrange for your vehicles to be shuttled to the takeout point.

Know the weather conditions before you head out. While paddling, watch the weather and stay close to shore. Head for shore if the waves increase.


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