Navy, Coast Guard Promote Summer Water Safety

Story Number: NNS100717-03Release Date: 7/17/2010 12:22:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Robert Stirrup, Commander Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

HONOLULU (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard joined together to promote summer water safety at local television station KHON2 in Honolulu July 15.

Lt. Jennifer Hall, diving and undersea medical officer for Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1, and Coast Guard Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Garrett Hamilton offered advice and tips for people engaging in water activities.

During the interview, Hamilton talked about the importance of wearing life jackets while being aboard a boat.

"It is always safe and recommended to wear a life jacket the moment you get aboard a boat. Life jackets don't work if you don't wear them," Hamilton said. "Also, as per federal regulation, anyone aboard a boat who is 12 years or younger must wear a life jacket at all times."

Hall noted that while diving and snorkeling are some of the more popular water activities in Hawaii, people should make sure they have proper equipment and have received training.

"If you want to become dive certified, take a course that will provide classroom training, pool in-water training and open-water dive training. The course should provide a good deal of in-water training," said Hall. "You should also make sure you are familiar with your dive equipment and ensure it is in good working order, including the maintenance and safety checks."

Hamilton spoke about the importance of being sober while operating a boat.

"Boating under the influence can have the same consequences as driving under the influence," said Hamilton. "Intoxication can impair your judgment while operating a vessel, and just like driving, boat collisions can happen on the water."

Hall also talked about the significance of having a plan when taking part in diving and snorkeling activities.

"The Navy is a big proponent of first having a plan and then adhering to the plan. We always say as divers, 'plan the dive and dive the plan,'" said Hall. "I always tell our Sailors that they should feel their best while in the water. If there's any doubt or concern physically or with safety, then you should not put yourself at risk."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 3,500 unintentional drownings occur in the United States each year, and for every one drowning victim, there are up to five non-fatal drowning events which can result in lifelong complications, including significant brain damage. In addition, almost 500 die from other boating-related incidents.

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