Porch & Parish Magazine - Serving the Zachary, LA Community

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Summer Safety Series: Boating

Lauren Pope, Staff Writer

You might have seen some summertime warnings going around social media about the dangers of things you’d never even thought to be worried about. We saw them too, and we reached out to the experts to learn more about the risks and how best to keep your family safe. So whether your new anxiety trigger is deadly mushrooms, “drowning machine” low head dams, riptides, or suffocating carbon monoxide building up at the back of the boat, we’ll be here with the facts in an ongoing summer series. Today, we’ll look at boating safety. 

We spoke with Zachary Fire Captain Chase Lord about how to stay safe in open water. Right off the bat, Chase had three boating safety tips for everyone:

  1. Always wear a life jacket. Every person, every time.
  2. Always wear the kill switch when you’re driving the boat or jet ski.
  3. Always have a fire extinguisher on board the boat. 

In addition, he says that you should do a safety test of all the switches, lights, and horns before launch and be mindful of any alcohol intake. “I tell people that they need to do the right thing and be aware of all the other boats out there who might not be doing the right thing.” 

As for the risk of carbon monoxide build up, he says that this is especially a risk for inboard motor boats. Those are boats that have a motor inside the boat, and often these boats have semi-enclosed cabins. The CDC has a helpful page that lists the type of activities that are more likely to cause carbon monoxide build up and what to do if you think you might be experiencing symptoms. 

The biggest take away is to keep everyone away from where the engines vent their exhaust.  Don’t let kids play in the area just off the back of the boat, and be aware of build up when you’re idling or moving slowly. According to The Safe Boating Council a carbon monoxide detector inside the cabin is also a great idea. One more tip is to be aware of the boats around you because exhaust from one boat can impact people in its proximity. Finally, it’s important to avoid as much as you can sitting in the back of the boat, where exhaust tends to build up. 


For more info on carbon monoxide safety while boating, visit:

Carbon Monoxide (uscgboating.org)




Next week, we’ll take a look at staying safe once you’re in the water.

We’ll talk about two water risks, rip tides and low-head dams, and how you can stay safe from both!


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