Distress calls, rescues pick up over holiday weekend in Mid-Atlantic

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Boaters and swimmers took to the water this Father's Day weekend, and as the summer boating season ramps up, Coast Guard units and command center personnel responded to a high number of emergencies from New Jersey to North Carolina.

Coast Guard crewmembers assisted in three medical evacuations, responded to six disabled vessels, five vessels taking on water, two vessels aground, one vessel on fire, seven boating cases needing vessel tows, as well as investigating an uncorrelated mayday and three other miscellaneous search and rescue cases.

“With summer right around the corner, we will continue to see more folks out on the water,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Alexander Castonguay, a command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay. “Some of the cases that took place over the weekend were preventable if people took the right precautions such as having proper communications and safety equipment, filing float plans and following navigational markers. We want people to enjoy their time on the water, but safety is, and will always be, our first priority.”

Here are some additional tips to be aware of before going out on the water this summer:

* Always ensure your equipment is in good working order; get a free vessel safety check with your local Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla or U.S. Power Squadron
* Review a pre-departure checklist to ensure you have everything you need in your boat, including a tool kit and first-aid kit
* Always file a float plan or provide an itinerary with someone you trust
* Ensure everyone on your vessel has a properly fitting lifejacket
* Be familiar with your state's boating laws
* Know the “Rules of the Road” on the waterways
* Don't drink and drive a boat; alcohol affects judgment, vision, balance and coordination
* Respect your limits and keep within your limits to avoid injury – river currents can be very unpredictable


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