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New suggestions for paddle craft aim to keep everyone safe in Gig Harbor waters

Police provide boating requirements and safety tips

The summer boating season is officially underway. The Miami-Dade Police Department's Marine Patrol Unit offers tips that will help keep you safe when out on the water.
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The summer boating season is officially underway. The Miami-Dade Police Department's Marine Patrol Unit offers tips that will help keep you safe when out on the water.

Safety has always been the main priority for the Gig Harbor Police Department, on and off land.

With summer just around the corner, the harbor will be at full use, ranging from giant boats to small paddle craft.

The Gig Harbor Police Department has created a new community outreach program called Go With The Flow. The program includes three optional rules to abide by while on Gig Harbor waters.

“In response to concerns from boaters and paddle-craft operators, we had a need to get a message out to try to educate paddle-craft users of the limitations of bigger boats coming out of the harbor,” Chief Kelly Busey said.

The first rule is to have paddle-craft users stay at least 25 yards from marinas.

“What happens is larger boats will come out of marinas and then all of a sudden they encounter a paddle crafter they can’t normally see until they are right there,” Busey said.

He said although no serious accidents have happened in recent memory, there have been a few close calls that gives the department cause for concern.

Paddle crafters also are asked not to linger in the mouth of the harbor when larger boats are coming in and out.

“If there is no other traffic, they can enjoy the view, take a picture there, play in the current, do what they want to do,” Busey said. “But if there are bigger boats coming, clear the way. Be respectful of the limited movability of other boats.”

The third and final component of the community outreach program is all folks on watercraft travel counterclockwise in the harbor.

“It gives more predictability so larger boats have a feel of where paddle crafters will be going,” Busey said.

Although these three recommendations are optional, Busey said he hopes citizens abide by them to create a safe water experience for all citizens.

Printed materials will be handed out, and the Gig Harbor Police Department has reached out to all paddle-craft rental agencies to inform their customers of the new recommendations.

“It is completely voluntary and not meant to put forth a heavy hand to enforce,” Busey said. “It’s simply an education and hope everyone adapts these rules to the water.”

For more information watch https://bit.ly/2W5PcCd.

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