Boating safety, rules extra important during busy holiday weekend on the water

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 2:44 PM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - Tybee Island city officials say that weather permitting, they’re expecting the largest crowd they’ve ever had both on the island this July 4th weekend, and in the water.

Before you hit the water this weekend, there are some important things to keep in mind, especially with large crowds expected.

Capt. Matt Bowen, with Tybee Fire Rescue, said that it’s important to keep your distance from other boaters on the water to reduce the likelihood of a crash. It’s also important to be aware of your surroundings, particularly when it comes to smaller watercraft like kayaks.

Capt. Bowen also says to take your time and there’s no need to go superfast, especially when you’re in tighter channels. It’s also important to know the laws of the waters you’re boating in.

“Off the front of the beach, the state has a law that you have to be 1,000 feet seaward of the high tide mark, so definitely pay attention to that and try to stay as far out as you can, especially from the swimmers,” Capt. Bowen said.

If you’re out on the waters, particularly in the north channel on Tybee, be sure you’re not just looking, but also listening. That’s a busy commercial channel, so the Tybee Marine Rescue Squad said that if you hear five beeps - that means another boat needs you to get out of the way, quickly and safely.

If you’re ever feel you’re in danger in the water and need help, you can ask for it on marine radio VHF channel 16 or just simply call 911.

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