As we enter the dog days of summer, our Marine Patrol Unit has some great tips and safety recommendations if you plan to enjoy the local waterways:
- Wear a life jacket. There is not a case of a water-related death in this area where a life jacket was worn.
- Have a plan for emergencies and be sure to tell someone not going with you about your plans. Bring plenty of water, snacks, cell phone and a VHF radio (they monitor channel 16) with you and know how to use it if in distress.
- Be sure your boat is sea-worthy before attempting to put it in the water. Too many people get stuck with bad gas, dead batteries etc.
- Be sure to have the basic requirements for your boat! EVERY operator no matter the age is now required to have taken a boater safety course and must have proof. Each vessel (depending on size) is required to have a life jacket (that fits) for every person, a fire extinguisher, horn/whistle/bell, and a throwable life preserver. There are other requirements depending on the size/usage of your boat as well.
- Last but not least, they take boating while intoxicated just as serious as if you were driving a car. It’s against the law and can get someone seriously hurt, or worse, killed. Please use your best judgment and do not operate your boat while intoxicated.
Did you know our Marine Patrol Unit covers all of the inlets from the Occoquan to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on the Potomac River? This is around 80 miles of shoreline. Plus they are responsible for coverage of the 17 lakes in Fairfax County.
They are the only full time unit in Northern Virginia and regularly assist boaters outside of Fairfax waterways. Finally, they train with most of the surrounding jurisdictions and have worked multiple cases with them over the years.
Our Marine Patrol Unit wants everyone to enjoy the water this summer and have fun, but do so in a safe manner.
Please continue to follow us on Twitter, @fairfaxpolice and our blog, www.fcpdnews.wordpress.com for the latest information.