South Gulf County Volunteer Fire Department

Blog

Archives - August 2014

August 21, 2014

Beach Roll-over Kills 1, Injures Another

Money Bayou RolloverEarly Thursday morning, August 21, 2014, SGCVFD was called to the south beach area by Money Bayou. An SUV had rolled over several times, coming to rest on its roof in the surf.  Both occupants were ejected.  One occupant's legs were pinned in the surf by the SUV.  He died as a result of his injuries or by drowning.  The other occupant experienced critical injuries and was transported to Sacred Heart Hospital, where he was Life-Flighted to Bay Medical Center in Panama City.

It has not been determined at what time the event happened, but it could have been hours before it was discovered by vacationers and called in.  The surviving occupant appeared to be suffering from hypothermia.

Several factors contributed to this tragic event

  • Excessive speed - A beach is not a paved road. There are ruts, bumps, holes, logs, chairs, and people all over the place.  This is the reason that the beach driving ordinance has put the speed limit at 10 miles per hour.
  • Rapid direction change in the sand - Even on the hard-packed sand, when a vehicle changes direction, the leading tire digs into the sand.  If this change is fast enough or the speed high enough, it can cause a vehicle to roll over.  SUV's are especially prone to this since they are top-heavy compared to two-wheel drive vehicles.

  • Failure to wear seat belts - If these victims were wearing seat belts, death and severe injury would probably not been the result. Even though the vehicle was in the water, the passenger compartment was not submerged.

This is the second event like this we have had in the past year.  Please be careful when driving on our beaches.

Posted by Captain Vince Bishop - 08/21/14, 11:15 AM

August 05, 2014

U.S. Coast Guard Regulations for Stand Up Paddlers

The sport of SUP boarding has exploded. Thousands of new folks are getting on the water with their boards for the first time. It’s great, it’s fun, but do you know what you need to have and do to be legal on the water?

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has determined that SUP boards operated outside a surfing, swimming or bathing area are “vessels” under USCG regulations. The following refers to what that means for you when you’re outside those areas.

Life Jackets:

  • Each paddler 13 years of age or older must have a USCG-approved Type I, II, III, or appropriate Type V (see below) life jacket. It doesn’t have to be worn, although that’s certainly the wisest plan, and one which we strongly recommend.
  • A child 12-years old or younger must wear their USCG-approved life jacket.
  • The jacket must be in “serviceable condition,” without rips, tears or deterioration that will diminish its performance.
  • The jacket must be of an appropriate size and fit for the wearer.
  • A Type V jacket can be used as long as it’s USCG-approved and applicable for the activity.
  • Belt pouch-type inflatable PFDs, such as the ones we carry, must be worn on the person to meet the life jacket regulation. For other types of inflatable PFDs, check the approval description printed on the unit for restrictions.
  • For all life jackets, be sure to read the label to know if special requirements pertain to that device.

SUP

Other Required Gear:

  • A whistle or other sound producing device must be carried to warn other boaters.
  • If you’re on the water after sunset, you need to have a flashlight, or similar lighting device, to warn other boaters.

What You Need to Do:

  • As the operator of a vessel, you need to follow the Navigation Rules.
  • You are also required to report any boating accident or injury to the local reporting authority, either the USCG or other agency that has been delegated that authority.

So, if you have this gear and follow these rules you should be legal under USCG regulations. 

Remember, on a SUP board you’re about the most vulnerable person on the water. Watch out for power boats and other crafts; use your signaling devices to help them spot you. Wearing brightly colored life jackets and apparel in well traveled waterways can be a life saver. Also, many boating accidents involve alcohol; it’s best to leave the celebration until you’re back on shore.

Have a great time on the water and above all, boat safe!

Posted by Captain Vince Bishop - 08/05/14, 09:34 AM