Volume 14, Issue 21 ~ May 25 - May 31, 2006

Letters to the Editor

We welcome your opinions and letters – with name and address. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to editor@bayweekly.com. or submit your letters on line, click here

Boat Safely this Summer

Dear Bay Weekly:

Boating season is upon us again. Being out on the water can be very enjoyable. But it can also be very dangerous if simple safety precautions are not followed. One of the most important is the owning and wearing of a Personal Flotation Device, a Life Jacket. So our boat needs one appropriately sized PFD for each person aboard.

National Safe Boating Week 2006 is May 20-26. The theme is once again “Be Smart. Be Safe. Wear It! PFDs that is!”

Latest statistics show an annual rate of 676 fatalities as a result of boating accidents. Of these 484 were drownings. In 431 of the drowning deaths, no PFD was worn. That’s nearly 90 percent, and more than half of these were riding in open motor craft.

Over the 14 years for which the data was provided, the top five types of accidents were collision with a vessel, collision with a fixed object, falls overboard, capsizing and skier mishap. The top 10 list of contributing factors to these boating accidents included careless/reckless operation, operator inattention, operator inexperience, excessive speed, alcohol use and rules of the road infraction.

Most if not all of these were preventable. Training (the Coast Guard Auxiliary provides the courses you need) and the use of good common sense can go an awful long way to reducing accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Primary among these is wearing PFDs.

But the news is not all bad. Over the most recent 14-year period, annual boating fatalities dropped from 924 to 676. Considering the number of registered boats has increased from 11,068,440 to 12,781,476 over the same period, the fatality rate dropped from 8.3 to 5.3 deaths per 100,000 registered boats. The reason: Training results in safer boaters.

Wearing PFDs can save lives, and Safe Boating courses, most conducted by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, provide the knowledge to the boating community that can reduce mishaps and provide for many safe and enjoyable hours on the water. We in Flotilla 15-6 will be there to teach safe boating and help if you should get into trouble on the water in the Solomons Island area.

— Jack Margolis, Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 15-6

The Very High Cost of Gas

Dear Bay Weekly:

Many important officials still do not know the cause for high gasoline prices. Lt. Gov. Michael Steele thinks it’s high federal gas taxes. Rep. Ben Cardin thinks it is price gouging by oil companies. Mr. Kweisi Mfume thinks it is high federal and state gasoline taxes.

Some of us know the real reason for $3 gas that will be $4 by the end of summer. The reason is false pretense-wars that we were snookered into by our leaders. Thank you, President Bush. Thank you, Vice President Cheney.

—Bill Burlison, Odenton

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