“Marinas and waterways are inherently dangerous. Enjoy our resources at your own risk”. These words are printed on every visitor’s pass and member agreement at Money Island Marina. Yet sometimes we forget how real the risk can be. Yesterday we heard two tragic stories (both unconfirmed) about likely loss of life on the Delaware Bay:
In an approaching thunderstorm, a boater waived a metal crabbing net above his head to signal that he needed to be towed in to shore. He was hit by lightning and died.
A jet skier was not wearing a required life jacket when the ski hit something in the water. He went under and is presumed drowned.
Over the years we’ve heard plenty of these types of tragic stories. Most stories of tragedy involve some fundamental omission of a basic safety principle. We fear that some visitors to the marina and the bay shore may not be aware of these basic safety issues. We highly encourage anyone going on a boat to take the Boater’s Safety Course and to review the course materials each season.
Additionally, consider these basic safety issues around water:
- Moss covered surfaces are very slippery.
- Keep hands and feet out from between boats and docks. The sudden movement of heavy floating boats and docks can easily crush a limb.
- The running tide is very strong and a swimmer often cannot oppose its force. Instead, float with the tide rather than exert yourself trying to fight it.
- Water and electricity do not mix.
- Wear a life jacket when around water. This is a must for children.
- Take lightning risk seriously. Stay low, stay away from metal and seek shelter.
- When out on a boat, even a kayak, have all your safety equipment ready. Have at least one cell phone in a durable sealed waterproof bag and have a signalling device (flare gun with extra flares) on board.
- Do not walk in the marsh alone. Soft mud can sometimes have the same effect as quicksand.
- Do not walk on docks or go near water when ice is present, especially if you are alone.