CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A wireless phone can be a lifesaver on the lake -- literally. This year as thousands of Carolina's wireless phone users take to area lakes, Bell Atlantic Mobile's new safety awareness campaign, "Water Safety With Wireless," will remind lake-goers that wireless phones are just as important for lake safety as life preservers, sunscreen and emergency flares.
The "Water Safety With Wireless" campaign encourages boaters and others enjoying Carolina's lakes to use wireless phones to increase safety for themselves and fellow lake-goers by reporting unsafe boating and other lake emergencies to local law enforcement. Calls made on wireless phones to 9-1-1 are free.
"Most wireless users know that they can call 9-1-1 to report unsafe drivers or accidents on highways," said Jerry Fountain, vice president of Bell Atlantic Mobile's Southeast region. "This campaign emphasizes that wireless phones are also a tool to increase safety on lakes."
The campaign features a boat windshield sticker (left) distributed to lake- goers at boat inspections, entrances to parks and boat dealers with the help of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police
Department; sheriffs departments in York, Catawba, Iredell and Lincoln counties; Mecklenburg Park & Recreation Department; Lake Norman and Lake Wylie Marine Commissions; Lake Norman Power Squadron; and the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
"Sadly, each year on Carolina's lakes there are a number of boating accidents and other life-threatening emergencies," said Fountain. In 1998, 59 people died in boating accidents in the Carolinas, according to North Carolina and South Carolina state agencies.
Some tips from Bell Atlantic Mobile's "Water Safety With Wireless" campaign:
- Always carry a wireless phone to report suspected drunken, speeding or erratic boaters on the lake, call for emergency medical attention, and summon help for mechanical problems.
- Check and charge your battery regularly. Remember that you can use your onboard cigarette lighter adapter to power your phone.
- When calling 9-1-1, be prepared to describe your location to the operator using buoy markers or other landmarks.
- Provide the 9-1-1 operator with your wireless phone number in case more information is needed.
- As with all calls, when dialing 9-1-1 remember to press the SEND button for the call to go through.