National Safe Boating Week May 21 to 27, 2016

National Safe Boating Week May 21 to 27, 2016

National Safe Boating Week runs May 21-27 and leads into Memorial Day weekend, which kicks off the boating season for much of America. The goal of National Safe Boating Week is to educate the public about the importance of following safe boating practices and wearing life jackets while on the water. Sea Tow Foundation offer the following five tips for staying safe while enjoying one of summer’s most popular pastimes.
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National Safe Boating Week May 21 to May 27, 2016

“National Safe Boating Week is the perfect time to share boating safety advice and tips with boaters; especially those in northern regions who are about to begin their season. It also provides an important reminder to year-round boaters in the southern regions,” said Michael Wesolowski, Executive Director of the Sea Tow Foundation, which is dedicated to ensuring that life jackets are available to anyone who may need them. In the past four years, the Foundation has helped to provide 35,000 life jackets to infants, children, youth and adults as part of its nationwide life jacket loaner program facilitated through the national network of boating agencies, nonprofit organizations and Sea Tow Captains.

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5 Key Boating Tips

1.) Wear a life jacket: Life jackets save lives, but only if you wear them. New options such as inflatable belt packs and vests make life jackets cool and comfortable. Wear one at all times while on or near the water. Children under the age of 13 are required to wear lifejackets while boating.

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Wear your life jacket to work day 2016-05-20 v3

Start National Safe Boating Week early by joining Sea Tow and the Sea Tow Foundation and participating in Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day on Friday, May 20. To showcase the wide array of available life jacket options, including inflatable models, the National Safe Boating Council, in partnership with the Canadian Safe Boating Council, also invites boaters to participate in this year’s “Ready, Set, Wear It!” Life Jacket World Record Day on Saturday, May 21. Participants from around the world will don personal flotation devices (PFDs) in an attempt to set a world record for the most number of people wearing a life jacket in a single day. For more information or to join an event in your area, visit www.readysetwearit.com.

 

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2.) Designate a sober skipper: Boat operators need to be clear-headed and able to make quick decisions while on the water. Drinking alcohol or taking drugs— even some over-the-counter or prescription medicines—decreases reaction time and the ability to think clearly.

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3.) Carry a VHF Radio and know how to use it: While many boaters rely on cell phones, they can be unreliable on the water where coverage is often spotty or nonexistent. A VHF radio is one of the most important pieces of equipment on your boat because it allows you to broadcast a call for help to anyone in your area monitoring Channel 16 (the hailing and distress channel), including the U.S. Coast Guard. VHF radios have been credited with saving thousands of lives.

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Before taking your boat out, be sure to perform a radio check to ensure your VHF is operational. In many regions across the country, you can do this via the new free Sea Tow Automated Radio Check service. Simply tune to VHF Channel 24-28 (it varies by area) to check the tone, quality and strength of your radio transmission without having to rely on anyone else. To find the VHF channel for a radio check in your area, visit www.seatow.com/boating-safety/automated-radio-checks. Using this service reduces traffic on Channel 16, which is reserved for emergency calls.

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4.) Get a vessel safety check: The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadrons both offer free Vessel Safety Checks to get boaters ready for the season. They’ll help make sure that you are carrying everything you need from an anchor to a fire extinguisher so that you are safe and legal on the water.

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5.) Take a boating safety course. These informative classes offer something for everyone, even if you’re an experienced boater. With constantly changing requirements and regulations, it is important to make sure that you are up to date when it comes to boating safety. Plus, boaters who complete a course may be eligible for a discount on their boat owner’s insurance.

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“Taking a boating safety course is one of the single best things you can do to ensure your safety on the water,” says Wesolowski.  A list of boating safety courses offered nationwide can be found at www.boatingsafety.com/education.

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About Sea Tow Foundation: In 2007, Sea Tow Services International, Inc. founder, Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer, was concerned about the number of preventable boating-related accidents, injuries and deaths and decided to create a non-profit organization that could directly address these issues through education and awareness. The resulting national public service organization received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and was named the Sea Tow Foundation.

Written by  Michael Wesolowski

Sea Tow Foundation Executive Director

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