"If you fall in water that's 50 degrees and you're 50 feet from shore, you have only a 50/50 chance of making it to shore," said Don Moon, Commander of the Wabash Valley Power Squadron, this week. "That's assuming you're fully clothed and wearing shoes. This would most likely happen in the spring or fall when people are hunting or fishing."
That's called the 50/50 rule and it's know to most boaters and members of the Power Squadron.
"We are safe boaters and we teach safe boating to anybody who's interested in boating, "Moon said. "Anyone who owns or operates a boat should take a safe boating course."
To help spread the virtues of safe boating Mayor Kenny Crabb proclaimed May 17-23 as National Safe Boating Week.
The Wabash Valley Power Squadron is a boating fraternity that offers classes to the public one to three times a year. Their next course is scheduled at the Mill Creek Reservoir in Marshall, Ill. The date has not yet been scheduled. Any interested person may call Moon at 812-864-2797 for more details or check their web site:
Boat safety can be a life or death matter. According to the most recent U.S. Coast Guard statistics, in 2001 there were 681 boating fatalities in the United States and its territories.
Of those deaths, 532 victims were not wearing life jackets. The most common causes of death were drowning, trauma, hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning.
The numbers for Indiana in 2001 showed 14 fatalities and 63 injuries with property damage of $845,367. Moon stressed that the simple act of wearing a life jacket could save many lives each year.
According to Moon, the Power Squadron is a spin off of the Boston Yacht Club which was founded in 1914.
"History explains that many folks, of the Boston area, who had the financial means bought sailing yachts," Moon said. "They set out to sea and many never returned. That's why the Boston Yacht Club was formed, to teach the people how to safely navigate a sailboat."
While the Boston Yacht Club was for sailing boats only, the spin off organization was made for any kind of boat including sail, power, fishing boats and canoes.
"In World War I, the United States got sucked into a war and was very unprepared," Moon continued. "The Power Squadron had an extensive program set up already to train skippers of boats. They were so good that on entry into the Navy they were commissioned as a Captain of a ship.
"During World War II, the Power Squadron offered help to President Roosevelt and he quickly accepted.
"You don't have to own a boat to be a part of the Power Squadron," Moon said. "If anyone is interested in boats, we're interested in them." The Brazil chapter of the Power Squadron, which was founded in 1957, eventually moved to Terre Haute. They meet once a month but have no designated meeting place.
Their next meeting is 7 p.m. June 12 at the residence of Keith Williams at Raccoon Lake. Anyone wanting more information about the Wabash Valley Power Squadron or wanting directions to Williams' house may call Don Moon at 812-864-2797.