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Boating safety tips ahead of Memorial Day weekend

Boat safety tips ahead of Memorial Day Weekend
Boat safety tips ahead of Memorial Day Weekend 02:51

BURLINGTON COUNTY, N.J. (CBS) -- Whether on the Delaware River, up in the Poconos or down the shore, boaters are heading to the water for the unofficial start of summer.

The countdown to Memorial Day weekend is on as we're coming to a close on National Boating Safety Week.

Here are some tips to keep you safe when out on the water.

It's open water on the Delaware River right off of Dredge Harbor. The view of the Philadelphia skyline couldn't be better as the countdown to the holiday weekend begins.

"Should be packed. It always is," Chris Manzella said. "Every holiday. Fourth of July. Memorial Day even Mother's Day."

Manzella and Don Sanzone with Freedom Boat Club Delran took CBS News Philadelphia out on the water to share safety tips. For those planning to boat on the Delaware, Manzella has this reminder.

"Lots of debris," he said. "Every time there's a storm, there's going to be lots of logs, lots of leaves, lots of things you might be able to run over."

But even before heading out on the water, Sanzone said you should go through a checklist of equipment on board for everything from flares to whistles. He stresses the importance of packing life jackets, making sure they fit and keeping them on at all times.

"You want to make sure that the life jacket is snug because if not, it'll come over your head," Sanzone said.

Outside of wearing a life jacket, the U.S. Coast Guard also reminds boaters to:

  • Bring a marine radio on board
  • Know weather conditions
  • Boat sober

"There is nothing like taking your time in just about everything," Sanzone said. "Especially here in the Delaware River, you have some really really big ships and tankers. Watch your speed and watch your wake."

Like driving a car, Manzella said you can only control what you do when operating a boat, not what others are doing.

And if an emergency pops up, he said to stay calm.

"If you don't stay calm and you're just panicking, you're not going to think straight [and] you're going to make dumb decisions," Manzella said. 

Another simple but helpful tip is to make sure your phone is charged. Some boats have a USB adapter but if yours does not, bring a portable charger along for the ride.

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