Sunday cartoon: Li’l Skipper water & boating safety

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BURRILLVILLE – The Rhode Island fishing season opening day is this coming Saturday, April, 13. Kids, teenagers and adults will be heading to stocked open water state park regulated ponds, lakes and streams hoping to catch that big fish on the ends of their fishing lines.

Kids should always wear a child life jacket when out on a boat fishing. A life jacket should be available on any boat matching the number of people onboard to help keep them safer if for some reason the boat sinks into the water. Kids must wear their life jacket at all times while they are a passenger on any boat, canoe, raft or floating vessel. Make sure that the proper life jacket is purchased for your child, or children, and that it fits them according to age, weight and size. There are numerous life jacket options to select from, so insist that it fits your child the correct way. A child should not be able to slip through a life jacket.

Test the life jacket and check all attachments and clasps to make sure that they are in working order. Life jackets should fit snugly and not too tight. Never buy a fashionable life jacket with earthy pastel colors or heavy blue dyes. It’s not safe. Purchase an orange life jacket that can be seen clearly on the surface of the water by anyone attempting to find you in case of an emergency. Bright orange life jackets are easily visible. Fashionable life jackets are not designed for safety when it comes to visibility.

Please remember to bring two small trash bags and secure them both on your boat or water vessel. Do not litter in our ponds, lakes, streams and ocean. Put recyclables in one bag and trash in another bag. When you arrive back on shore, always discard everything into a Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management state container or bin, designated for recycling and for trash only. Make sure kids are wearing life jackets on boats while fishing at all times.

Li’l Skipper and his pet dog; Clam Cakes, always wear their life jackets in boats on open water for safety’s sake.

Jim Weicherding is a Burrillville resident, and the founder and creator of an award-winning traffic safety effort Seasons of Safety. Weicherding contributes kids’ coloring cartoons, which can be printed and used to help parents discuss safety issues with their children. He has a long list of police officers and firefighters in his family and has worked with law enforcement and firefighters in a creative public safety capacity for more than two decades.

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