It’s one of the summer’s top activities here in the Coastal Bend - boating.
And like so many of us that are just getting outdoors after months of social distancing, boaters are out in full force across our area.
The pandemic is making a big impact on boat sales. Boat dealers say they are seeing a spike not only nationally, but also locally.
“Boat sales are up because people want to be able to socially distance away from people and still be having fun," Gulf Coast Marine president Billy Holmes said. "Being out on a boat and/or fishing, they are able to do all that."
Nueces County Emergency Service District No. 2 Fire Chief Dale Scott says his group is seeing plenty of new boats on the water and even more boating accidents.
“We have been very busy, and we are anticipating picking up even more in August,” said Scott.
Since starting their water rescue program in 2013, they have responded to 324 water rescue calls and saved 113 victims.
“Last year we broke a record with 67 (calls), and we are well on track to probably get into the 70s by the end of the summer,” said Scott.
During COVID-19, it’s critical for water enthusiasts to limit the unnecessary risk, not only to themselves, but also to others as well.
There are several steps you can take to ensure the safety of you and everyone else on board, from having a fire extinguisher to having a life vest for each person on board.
“I know they are a little hot and kind of cumbersome, but it is better to have it than not need it, to need it and not have it," Scott said. "It is a good idea to have a cell phone with GPS capabilities in a waterproof case, and also, if it is a fairly big boat, and you are going to be out at night, it is a good idea to have flares."
Another thing to keep in mind is always be mindful of the weather.
Check on the forecast before you hit the water so you can avoid any pop-up storms.