Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
This summer, many Veterans will be boating and fishing. Marine Corps Veteran Albert “AJ”Januszewski knows a few things about staying safe when boating. As a young man, he often took his sons water skiing. He later raced speedboats. Now he prefers leisurely rides on the Lake of the Ozarks. He has never had a serious boating accident.
AJ believes boating safety starts with, “knowing the rules and having common sense.” He recommends that new boaters take a safety course offered throughout the country by the U.S. Coast Guard. This course teaches safe boating basics including rules of right of way, maintaining safe distance from other boats and operating at safe speeds. Navigation basics are also covered including recognizing water buoys, shallow water markers and using maps.
AJ states that new boaters should make sure they are comfortable with the boat they are operating, adding, “The bigger the boat, the longer it takes to get in the comfort zone.” He follows all state laws for safety features including having a working fire extinguisher, enough life jackets for every passenger and a horn or whistle for signaling. When boating alone, he lets someone know his departure time, return time and destination. He also carries a cell phone for emergencies.
AJ compares boating to operating a car. Don’t operate either while drinking alcohol or intoxicated. Be aware of your surroundings and the location of other boaters, swimmers and personal watercraft. Know the rules of the body of water you are boating. Always check the weather forecast and boating conditions. He states that windy conditions and storms can make boating more difficult and even dangerous, adding, “Know the limitations of the type of boat you are in and yourself as an operator!”
For AJ, nothing is more relaxing after a stressful day than boating. “Water has a tranquil effect on me. I love being on the water!” If you share AJ’s love of boating, or have thought about boating, do yourself a favor and make boating safety a priority.
Veterans interested in learning more about boating safety and safety in general may visit the following websites:
Brought to you by the Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program