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Boater safety tips to keep in mind before you head out on the water this Memorial Day weekend

The Coast Guard is reminding boaters on how to keep themselves -- and their passengers -- safe on the water.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — This week is National Safe Boating Week, and the U.S. Coast Guard is urging boaters and anyone hitting the water this Memorial Day Weekend to be safe.

Station Portsmouth crewmen on Tuesday discussed the importance of life jackets, boating sober, emergency communications equipment, and paddle craft safety in order to prepare boaters for Memorial Day Weekend.

U.S. Coast Guard said statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in four out of every five recreational boating fatalities and that 83% of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

Among the many common-sense tips that the Coast Guard suggests: besides not drinking and driving a boat, make sure everyone on board is wearing a life vest, know the weather conditions, and check to see if you have enough gas.

Inside your boat, it's a good idea to carry a signal mirror, fire extinguisher, whistle, and a working radio that is turned on and tuned into marine channel 16.

Federal law states kids 13 and under must be wearing a life vest while underway unless they are below deck or in an enclosed cabin. You can even attach a GPS tracking device to the vest.

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