State Reps. Joe Hohenstein and Danilo Burgos on Thursday afternoon celebrated National Safe Boating Week by offering safety tips.
Hohenstein and Burgos were joined by Erin Czech, waterways conservation officer for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, at the Frankford Boat Launch, 5501 Tacony St., along the Delaware River.
The timing of the event coincides with Memorial Day weekend and the Riverfront North Partnership Fish Fest, which took place on Saturday.
Hohenstein, Burgos and Czech offered the following tips:
• Always wear a life jacket that fits.
• Never boat under the influence.
• Tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to return.
• Be courteous to other boaters.
• Use navigation lights at night.
• Keep a bell horn or whistle on board.
• Keep a Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher on board.
Just like operating a motor vehicle on the road, in Pennsylvania, a person operating a boat is over the legal limit if they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher.
“Please enjoy responsibly,” Burgos said.
Hohenstein said it’s dangerous to drink while operating a boat, even if the operator thinks the water is calm and there are few other boats on the river.
“You never know how the conditions will change,” he said.
Burgos and Hohenstein noted that many victims of boating accidents on the river are Hispanic, and they support signage in Spanish to caution them to be safe.
Czech said people can go to fishandboat.com to obtain a license to fish or use a boat or jet ski.
As for life jackets, Czech said there needs to be one for every person on the boat, adding that a kid should not wear an adult jacket.
“Life jackets are very important,” she said.
Czech said patrols will be increased on weekends and holidays on the river in Bucks, Philadelphia and Delaware counties. Patrolling agencies are the Fish and Boat Commission, the Coast Guard, the Philadelphia Police Marine Unit and the Pennsylvania and New Jersey State Police.
Residents who want more information should contact Hohenstein’s district office at 215-744-2600. ••