Coast Guard stresses safety surrounding Eclipse

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Coast Guard, in coordination with federal, state, and local partners, is stressing public safety for the upcoming eclipse on August 21, 2017.

“With anticipation and excitement for the historic eclipse passing through the Charleston area, the Coast Guard wants to highlight the importance of safety and preparedness for those enjoying the waterways here in the Low Country,” said Cmdr. Nick Wong, the Sector Charleston Deputy Commander.

The Coast Guard’s key concerns are:

Boating Safety & Navigation Rules of the Road: A surge in people and vessels is expected on the waterways in Charleston harbor and throughout South Carolina. It is crucial for operators, recreational and commercial, to follow the navigational “Rules of the Road,” which include having a proper lookout and displaying the appropriate light and sound signals at all times. All mariners are expected to be vigilant and exercise prudent seamanship, especially in congested waterways. Additional information on Boating Safety can be found here

Preparedness: Planning is a key to success on the water. Boaters are encouraged to plan for delays and increased traffic. Coast Guard, federal, state and local first responders are standing by to assist those in distress; however, we rely on mariners to actively plan and prepare. Part of planning for every voyage should include a float plan, which can be easily filed through the Coast Guard App available on your smart phone. Always remember safety equipment such as distress signals and life jackets.

Safety of Charter Operations: Any vessel engaged in carrying passengers-for-hire must be operated by a Coast Guard licensed captain who is enrolled in a Drug and Alcohol Testing Program, and the vessel must meet the applicable safety regulations for commercial operations. Vessels carrying over 6 passengers, at least one for hire, are required to be inspected by the Coast Guard and hold a valid Certificate of Inspection prior to operations. Vessel operators and owners who are not in compliance with applicable regulations are subject to significant civil and criminal penalties. Additional information on Passenger Vessel Safety Program can be found here.

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