Boating Safety Courses could be Mandatory in 2018

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Putting your boat in the water – it could be the start of your best day afloat or your worst.

What could make all the difference?

“We have life jackets. We have our flashlights…our flags. We have a first aid kit…just in case anything goes wrong. We have a fire extinguisher…two fire extinguishers,” said Christian Velasquez.

On only their second trip out with a boat that’s new to the family, the Velasquez clan of Sacramento is intent on being ready for fun – and anything else that might happen out on the water.

“Dealing with water there’s a lot of drownings. It’s very important to keep real safe out here,” said Velasquez.

It’s safety first for the Parino family as well.

“We’ve got the whole family…my mom, my sister-in-law, my nephew and my niece. We’ve got the life jackets…the oars. Hopefully nothing goes wrong but just in case,” said Brian Parino.

Both Parino and Velasquez approve of plans at the Capitol to make boat safety classes mandatory for fellow water lovers.

Too often Sacramento’s marine patrol runs into folks who’ve planned for a good time and haven’t prepared for anything but.

Problems often start on shore.

“We see a lot of people standing in between the boat and the trailer and truck so they run the risk of actually getting squished between the boat and the trailer,” said Officer Traci Trapani with the Sacramento Police Department’s marine patrol.

Once afloat, not only do boaters have to watch out for how others are having fun but also for hazards exposed by low water levels.

And there are the hazards that get invited along for the ride – ones that have played a role in three drownings already this year.

“The key factor in all three of those was alcohol consumption. So if we can keep the alcohol consumption down it will keep us safer out here and help the community be safer,” said Trapani.

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