Are Your Children Safe on the Waters of Lake Gaston? Water safety is extremely important - especially when it comes to our children. Lake Gaston property owners often have visits from friends and family, only to find they don't have enough or the right size life jackets to accommodate all. Thus the Children's PFD Life Jacket Loaner Program on Lake Gaston.
On a vessel that is underway (i.e. the vessel is not at anchor, nor tied to shore, nor is the vessel aground), children under 13 years of age must wear an appropriate U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket unless they are 1) below deck, or 2) within an enclosed cabin.
Life Jackets For Children Must Be The Proper Size By Weigh...
Children's life jackets are approved for specific weight categories. Check the "User Weight" on the life jacket's informational label to see for which of the four following weight categories the PFD is approved: "less than 30 lbs. (infant)", "30 to 50 lbs. (child)", "less than 50 lbs. (infant)", or "50 to 90 lbs. (youth)".
Note that, unlike adult-sized PFDs, children's sizes do not specify a "chest size".
Children's PFDs come in either Type II or Type III styles. The Coast Guard's brochure pointedly recommends Type II PFDs for children in the "30 to 50 lbs. (child)" range, especially for non-swimmers. Many come with a crotch strap to help keep the PFD from "riding up" and prevent the child from "slipping out through the bottom" of PFDs not adequately secured around the child. Many come with oversized collars or pop-up pillows of flotation material to support the head and many PFDs have "grab straps" attached to such collars but even some without collars have "grab straps" (used mostly on smaller size PFDs). Such "grab straps" can not only be grasped by the bare hand but boat hooks can also be used to effect a capture of the "grab strap" loop. "Youth" sized PFDs often come in Type III styles and often without "grab straps".
Remember... Life Jackets Float, People Don't
And don't forget you can get a loaner Life Jacket for Lake Gaston's 'THE CROSSING' event sponsored by O'Sail.
According to the USCG, over 100 boardings were conducted for safety inspections over the Holiday Weekend. The most common violation the Coast Guard encountered was no registration card on board. Do you know where yours is located?
Several boaters were found to have FE and/or throwables that would not pass safety inspection. They were given replacements by USCG with LGWSC signage with each device that so the boater understood it came from the water safety council.
We were asked to remind all boaters of the BLUE LIGHT LAW:
When passing a law enforcement vessel that has stopped another boat, you must be at NO Wake if within 100ft. You are responsible for your boat's wake which causes damage to the law enforcement vessel or the stopped vessel.
New Board of Directors: Your new board of directors has already met. They are pursuing some ideas to further promote the LGWSC around the lake. Maybe a newsletter for members? Stay tuned... If you would like to write an article about a water safety-related topic please contact us.
Every year Lake Gaston has multiple boating accidents, some resulting in serious injury or death. Even just one accident is too many. If we could cure stupidity most of these would not occur. Jet skis are fun, fast and dangerous. We have one. North Carolina, as you know, does have a "no wake" law for jet skis = No wake within 100 feet of a boathouse, dock, or swimmer in the water. The distance between my boathouse and the boathouse across from me is about 170 feet. That means, by law, our cove is a no jet ski wake area from my boathouse to the end of the cove. Over the years I've probably seen more adults ignore this law than kids.
Now, will NC Wildlife be back in our cove enforcing this? Probably not, as they're spread too thin unless somebody files a complaint to them. The Virginia no-wake law is 50 feet for both jet skis and all powerboats.
Wake boats are a growing concern all over the country. So far North Carolina has refrained from putting any restrictions on wake boats. In Virginia, there is a 150-foot restriction in the legislature, but it has been "tabled" for a year. Pennsylvania and Maryland already have imposed 200 feet restriction on wake boats. Eventually, NC will do something. There's a lot of growing sentiment against discourteous wake boat operators. Be thoughtful out there.
The Lake Gaston Water Safety Council is a worthy organization to support. Family memberships are only $10/year. Check out their website: www.lakegastonwatersafetycouncil.org The local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 93, will come out and give a free safety inspection for your watercraft. They also conduct boating education classes. Their website is: http://wow.uscgaux.info/content.php?unit=054-09-03
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission also conducts on-line or instructor-lead boating safety classes. Their website is www.ncwildlife.org. You learn more with instructor-led courses. Have a safe and fun boating season.
- Updated the web site throughout the year with time-sensitive information for boaters.
- LGWSC volunteers attended the Water Safety Information trailer at 7 events around the lake. Questions were answered about water safety for an estimated 300 folks. Of this number, 250 were middle school students in support of the LGA sponsored Lakeside Learning Days.
- In 2017 we did a total redesign of the WSC web site to make it mobile-friendly. In addition, we joined Facebook. In 2017 we had over 3,800 visitors to the web site from as far as away as California and Florida. In 2018 we almost doubled those clicks (6,100) who took the time to review the WSC mission and activities.
- Promoted awareness of the Children's Life Jacket Loaner Program at nine (9) locations around the Lake to ensure visitors had proper safety equipment available.
- Made a donation to purchase 3 life vests for the Dive and Rescue team with the Roanoke Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department.
- Authored 6 water safety-related articles for inclusion in the LGA semi-monthly Bulletin.
- Made three presentations to various groups and HOA's around the lake.
- Convened 9 monthly membership meetings (including the annual pick-N) featuring speakers and subjects about water safety.
- Added reflective decals with the LGWSC logo for distribution at meetings and events.
- Identified focal points for reporting missing, off station and malfunctioning danger and navigation buoys:
- Mile Markers - (252) 535-6161 Ext. 4
- Danger and Navigation Buoys - (919) 707-0150 (NC) / (434) 848-3107 (VA - Brunswick County) / (434) 738-6191 (VA - Mecklenburg County)
- Made available signs for personal watercraft responsibility awareness and to promote use of life vests.
- Provided contact numbers to report unsafe boating incidents in the form of laminated cards and signs.
Is your boat dock and accident waiting to happen?
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