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Expert shares boating safety tips after teen boating accident in the Caloosahatchee River

Focusing on boating safety following teen boating accident
Posted at 11:19 PM, Jan 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-12 13:19:11-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — “Honestly the situation was kind of scary but thankfully they had their life jackets on,” said Zach Mascarelli.

Earlier today 5 teens were involved in a boating accident along the Caloosahatchee River. Their boat capsized, but between authorities who rescued them, their life jackets and VHR distress call they are alive.

Tonight one young boating expert says these guys were lucky, because they took precaution and followed Coast Guard protocol.

“They had their life jackets on which is good, the Coast Guard obviously recommends it, everybody who is on the water has a life jacket on, the importance of that was shown today considering those people are alive because they had their life jackets on,” said Zach Mascarelli.

Adding that family came into the store after the accident.

“They were a little shaken up by it obviously, but they were in good spirits knowing they had all the safety equipment needed to actually to actually make it through that incident,” said Zach Mascarelli.

Saying in a situation like this, when one passenger goes overboard on a smaller boat, everyone on board should not rush to their rescue.

“You can either have a throwable cushion and just toss that out to them so they can float around, or if they have their life jacket on they should be more than capable to hang out in the water until you’re able to reposition the boat to an ideal location to where they can climb aboard or they can get pulled back in,” said Zach Mascarelli.

Saying composure is key and sending out a VHF distress call to local authorities like these teens did is most important.

“So just knowing where all of your equipment is on the boat whether that be E PERB, ELB or just your VHF distress is the most crucial thing in the world,” said Zach Mascarelli.

Emphasizing that life jackets are uncomfortable but they should be worn at all times.

“It is true but we don’t have control over what the weather or the ocean is going to do so staying safe and wearing the life jacket no matter how uncomfortable it might be could be the difference between life and death,” said Zach Mascarelli.