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Have a safe and healthy Memorial Day weekend: Boating safety tips from ANTHC

May 26, 2017




This Memorial Day weekend marks a time to remember military members who have died in service to the United States.

Memorial Day also marks the unofficial start to summer and boating season. As the summer days grow longer, our Alaska Native people will spend more time on the water – whether it’s on boats or shores, fishing or for recreation. However, every year, water related accidents and fatalities affect our Native community.

On average, 17 Alaska Native people drown each year. About half of Alaska Native drowning victims are ages 30 and under. Our Alaska Native men are six times as likely to drown than our Native women.

These numbers can be reduced and Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Injury Prevention Program wants to keep you and your family safe. Follow these safety tips this summer and whenever you’re on the water:

  • Keep young children away from water unless supervised by an adult
  • Ensure the whole family has access to and uses flotation devices when near water
  • Always wear a life jacket when in an open boat or on an open deck, regardless of weather, boating experience or swimming ability
  • Attach the engine cut-off device when underway, especially when boating solo
  • When boating, have a means of communication/signaling device to attract help in an emergency – passengers should know the location of and how to use emergency devices
  • Equip boats with at least one means of re-boarding (e.g. swim step, ladder, foot sling)
  • If boating, file a plan so someone knows where you are and when you are expected back
  • Have your family members attend a water safety class such as those provided by AMSEA or the Alaska Office of Boating Safety

Download a printable boating safety reminder sheet from ANTHC.

For more information on water and boating safety, contact ANTHC Injury Prevention at (907) 729-3799.


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