Holiday weekend brings more boaters, more dangers

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — It’s Labor Day Weekend and the boaters have flooded the waters. According to the NC Wildlife Commission, 29 people have died from boating accidents this year, which marks the deadliest year in 20 years.

The Wildlife Commission says that in 23 of the deaths, those people were not wearing life jackets, and six of those deaths involved alcohol. This weekend, the Commission is using their campaign, “On the Road.. On the Water. Don’t Drink and Drive.”

“Safety is really within the captain driving that boat,” said John Chauvin, who has been taking his family out on their boat for years.

When Labor Day Weekend rolls around, the boaters take over and things can easily get out of hand on the water.

“The problems on the water are always going to be two-fold. One is the crowd. And two is, sometimes at the end of the day or more towards the end of the day, is people incorrectly consuming adult beverages. And I think that’s the biggest issue,” said Chauvin.

He says people need to watch out for each other and take it easy on the water. The U.S. Coast Guard says the fatal factor they see on these holiday weekends is boaters without life jackets.

“People don’t realize that if you are 12 years and under, you actually have to wear a life jacket at all times when the boat is underway,” said Officer William Lederer.

Lederer says they urge boaters everywhere to educate themselves on the ways of the water.

“You know, a lot of times when people first purchase a boat and they have never been on a boat before, they don’t realize that there aren’t brakes,” said Lederer.

Lederer adds that boaters can drink, but they must be under the legal limit in order to operate boat.

“You can avoid an injury. You can avoid an accident. I think people just have to be patient. Patient with each other. And enjoy themselves obviously. And take their time,” said Chauvin.

Chauvin wants to play it safe and most importantly, just have a good time.

Categories: Local, New Hanover