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The U.S. Coast Guard along the Eastern Shores of Virginia and North Carolina are urging people to be cautious of their activities on the water. Many recent accidents at sea, some of which have been fatal, have prompted the Coast Guard to shed some light on the dangers at sea.

The North Carolina Coast Guard Sector suspended a search Sunday, May 10 for a missing windsurfer. A 911 call came in to report that a windsurfer was in distress about 200 yards offshore at Pine Island, NC. The windsurfer was wearing a black wetsuit and had a blue sail. An HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Elizabeth City searched the area but only found the blue sail. The Coast Guard searched 17 hours before calling off the search.

Also on Saturday, May 9 the Coast Guard searched for 42 year-old Angelo Burnett who was trying to climb a fence on a pier and fell into the James River in Newport News, VA. The search was suspended and the man was never found. This afternoon another search was suspended for a 58 year-old man that fell overboard from a 25-foot pleasure craft near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

Capt. Mark Ogle, the commander of Section Hampton Roads, stated there are a lot of inexperienced people on the water now. Another factor is the rush to get on the water since many were unable to enjoy boating last year due to the high gas prices.

To ensure safety a life jacket or PFD (personal flotation device) should be worn. Children under the age of 13 are required by law to wear a PFD. Other tips suggested by Ogle are to not overload a boat with people or gear. Do not drink while boating. Watch for carbon monoxide exhaust when swimmers are near the boat. Finally, enroll in a boating safety class.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, as well as the Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY, who handle car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases and more.

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