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Tips for Cooking and Eating on Your Boat

Posted By Administration, Monday, July 27, 2020
Updated: Thursday, July 23, 2020

Tips for Cooking and Eating on Your Boat

Cooking at sea can be quite an adventure in and of itself. Galley kitchens are incredibly small if your boat is lucky enough to be equipped with one. Many boats have much smaller areas to prepare food and some boaters bring a grill on board. There are many safety concerns when it comes to cooking including boiling water, propane leaks, burns or a fire. All of these are dangerous in any home kitchen, but they could quickly become deadly on a boat. The Sea Tow Foundation has put together this list of 10 tips and tricks to make the most out of your cooking space on the boat and give you some food ideas, so that you can have a safe and fun time on the water!


  1. Use the space wisely. Now is not the time for a 7-piece cookware set. Only bring the kitchen tools you absolutely need. You most likely will not need more than: 1 skillet, 1 pot, plus only enough cups, plates, bowls, and silverware for each person on board to have a set.
  2. Multifunction is key. Not all galleys have a refrigerator or freezer. By bringing a hard top cooler, you can have a place to store foods and drinks. You also can use the cooler as an extra seat, a table, or even a food prep area! Think about all the ways you can use the items you bring on the boat to maximize your experience.
  3. Saving space. If your boat has a galley kitchen, there won’t be a lot of counter space to spread out on a boat. Use the wall space and maximize what you have. Pockets can be attached to a wall to hold silverware or tools. Hanging nets can be set up to hold produce as well.Get creative with storage solutions.
  4. Conserve water. Remember that fresh water is hard to come by while on the boat. Saltwater can be used for cleaning purposes to save fresh water to drink and cook with. Make sure not to dump the dirty water back into the ocean. Wait until you get to land and pour it into a pump-out drain.
  5. There is always movement. Even while docked, there will always be movement on the boat. Safety latches, railings, and strategically placed handles can help to keep you and your equipment safe and in place while on the water. Remember to only cook when the boat is docked or anchored (this includes grilling) for your safety.
  6. Emergency supplies. Before heading out on the water, make sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit and that your fire extinguisher is in working order. These are especially important if any cooking is being planned on the boat. Also, make sure that everyone on board knows what to do in an emergency and how to use the VHF radio to call for help.
  7. Meal planning. By planning your meals ahead of time, you can minimize the amount of work and excess food you will have to worry about on the boat. Do the chopping, dicing and slicing of vegetables and fruits at home and pack everything in storage containers. Simple dishes with minimal chopping will work best in smaller galleys.
  8. Cook ahead of time. It is important to make sure that you are thinking ahead to how much food you and your passengers will need to consume. Pre--cooking basic foods at home such as pasta, chicken, potato salad, taco meat, and other items can make the time on the water much more enjoyable. This way you won’t be stuck in the kitchen trying to cook while everyone else is fishing or swimming!
  9. Schedule boat trips between meals. If it is possible schedule your outing for the time between lunch and dinner so that you can avoid packing meals and just pack some snacks. Whole fruit, granola bars and individual packs of cookies or chips can make for easy packing without worrying about cooking or refrigeration. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water, too!
  10. Don’t rely on fishing. Fishing is a great way to enjoy the water and minimize the packing needed before the trip. However, there is no guarantee that you will get a bite. It is important to not rely solely on fishing for food while on the boat. Consider fish a bonus meal!


Do you have some favorite meals or snacks for a day out on the boat? Share your recipes here!

Tags:  2020  boat food  boat food prep  boat kitchen  boat snacks  cooking on a boat  eating on a boat  food for boating 

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The Sea Tow Foundation Backyard Water Relay!

Posted By Gail Kulp, Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Updated: Friday, July 17, 2020

The Sea Tow Foundation Backyard Water Relay!


As much fun as it is for the whole family to go out on a boat, there are days when getting to the water can be a challenge. That doesn’t mean that the family has to miss out on the summer fun! Think back to those fun memories of water balloon fights and take it to the next level with these fun water relay activities at home (no pool required)! Just wear a bathing suit and prepare to get wet!


  • Relay 1: Water Balloon “Hot Potato” Style.
    • Have players stand in a circle and toss a water balloon from person to person. Start playing music and at random intervals pause the music. Whoever is holding the water balloon when the music is off, or whoever pops the balloon, is out.
  • Relay 2: Balloon Roll.
    • Set a start and end point on the ground and mark with tape/chalk. Have players line up with a water balloon on the starting line. The player who can roll their water balloon to the finish line, without popping the balloon first, wins!
  • Relay 3: Popping as a Team.
    • Set a start and an end point on the ground and mark with tape/chalk. Divide into two teams. Set out one chair for each team and the finish line and place a water balloon on the seat of both chairs. The players will each take turns running from the start line to the chair to sit on the balloon until it pops. You will need to put a new balloon on after each one is popped. The first team to pop all of their balloons and race back to the start line wins.
  • Relay 4: Target practice.
    • Draw or place cut-out targets on the ground spaced apart in a line. Have all players stand at a starting line and try to throw the water balloon on the targets. If the balloon pops on the target, the team gets the points. For an added challenge, label the targets with math problems. Players will have to solve the problem and hit the correct target to get the points. First team to get 300 points wins!
  • Relay 5: Slipping’n’Sliding.
    • Lay out a tarp over the ground. Spray the tarp with water and a little bit of dish soap for maximum sliding. Continue to spray water on the tarp as each player has a turn sliding on the tarp. Time each player for the fastest speed to get from one end of the tarp to the next. Make sure that the area at the end of the tarp is clear so that no one hits a fence, tree or other items.
  • Relay 6: How Low Can You Go?
    • Turn on the hose and let the water come out at a steady stream. Each player must limbo under the water without getting wet! After everyone goes, lower the level of the water. Continue until everyone no one can clear the height.

We hope that you enjoy these fun water relay activities and get to spend some fun times with water! Let us know who the winners of your relay are and share your photos with us on Facebook or Instagram by tagging @SeaTowFoundation!

Tags:  2020  fun  games  Water  water relay 

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Finally, a Way to Dispose of Expired Flares

Posted By Gail Kulp, Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, July 14, 2020



Finally, a Way to Dispose of Expired Flares


The Sea Tow Foundation – a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the education and awareness of safe boating practices – was recently awarded a new grant from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund starting this month to conduct a Flare Disposal Program.


A flare is a pyrotechnic type of Visual Distress Signal (VDS), and all boaters are required by the USCG to carry both day and night VDS any time they are operating on coastal waters, the Great Lakes, or on the waters connecting to these areas. This means that there are millions of boaters carrying flares while on their boats at any moment.


Flares expire after 42 months and must be replaced to meet the USCG’s carriage requirements. Simply throwing expired flares in the trash would be an environmental and health hazard as they contain highly toxic chemicals such as perchlorate. Unfortunately, there is no single agency or organization handling the disposal of unwanted/expired flares in the U.S. There is also unclear requirements at the state level  about how flares should be disposed of properly.


In answer to the problem of what to do with millions of expired flares, the Sea Tow Foundation proposed working with the USCG to develop a flare disposal pilot program for boaters in Florida. This pilot program would utilize a mobile incineration unit that would traverse Florida over the 2021 year to safely dispose of flares collected at events around the state.


“While flare disposal is not part of a boater’s legal responsibility, it does affect the environment when not disposed of properly,” stated Gail R. Kulp, Sea Tow Foundation’s Executive Director. She added, “Not disposing of flares properly can also impact the safety of boaters if expired flares are stored on board boats.”


Plans for the flare disposal program are still in the early stages, as this grant project just started July 1st, but has been created and will have more information as it becomes available.


In addition to this grant program, the Sea Tow Foundation has received continued funding for  their successful Life Jacket Loaner Program grant for the 13th year ensuring that boaters all around the country can have access to properly fitting life jackets that can be borrowed and returned from a local stand. Life jacket applications for the 2021 boating season will be opening on November 1, 2020 via


Tags:  2020-2021  Expired Flares  Flare Disposal  US Coast Guard  Visual Distress Signals 

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Here is how you can help keep our programs free for recreational boaters

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Here is how you can help keep our programs free for recreational boaters

July begins the Sea Tow Foundation’s summer boating safety appeal

By supporting the Sea Tow Foundation, you are helping to prevent boating under the influence and drowning, ensuring that every day on the water is great. 
Did you know alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents AND that the majority of people who drown are not wearing life jackets? 

You can make a difference today.

With your help, the Sea Tow Foundation can continue to promote safe boating practices in a fun and educational way that directly reduces accidents, deaths and property damage related to recreational boating.
The Sea Tow Foundation’s Sober Skipper Program is a proactive effort that asks boaters to be or designate a sober skipper before leaving the dock to prevent boating under the influence. And our Life Jacket Loaner Program makes life jackets available in all sizes nationwide for the public to borrow and return free of charge to prevent drowning.

The Sea Tow Foundation does not receive dedicated funding and your help is very important.

Your donation is used to help maintain and keep our programs free and a vital resource for recreational boaters in over 600 boating communities across the United States. Since 2008, our family-friendly materials, informative website, volunteers, and staff have all been supported by donations. Please consider donating to the Sea Tow Foundation today.
You can make a one-time or recurring donation online at or you can mail a check to Sea Tow Foundation, P.O. Box 1325, Southold, NY 11971. Sea Tow Foundation is a 501(c ) (3) charity and your donation is tax deductible.


Thank you in advance for your support to keep our programs free for recreational boaters.

Thanks again!


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July 4th Safety Tips for Boaters Watching Fireworks Displays

Posted By Gail Kulp, Tuesday, June 30, 2020

July 4th Safety Tips for Boaters Watching Fireworks Displays

Over the long July 4th weekend, countless coastal and lakeside towns across the country mount fireworks displays, many of which will launch from the water. These exciting events draw hundreds of people, however with social distancing in effect right now, the best option to see these shows is to be on your boat for a “ring-side seat” for the show. Boating at night and in the smoke caused by the fireworks can prove challenging, so the Sea Tow Foundation has put together 7 safety tips for boaters watching a July 4th fireworks display from the water:

1.    Wear your life jacket! Make sure everyone onboard the boat is wearing either a traditional life jacket that fits properly, or an inflatable PFD. Navigating at night in smoky conditions can be just as dangerous as boating in stormy weather or in fog.


2.    Designate a Sober Skipper to stay at the helm all evening and be responsible for returning the boat and its passengers safely to shore after the fireworks display is over.


3.    Watch your weight. Don’t overload the boat with passengers. The number of seats available on board is not always the best indicator of capacity. Look for the boat’s capacity plate on the transom or by the helm, or look up the passenger capacity in the boat’s manual.


4.    Things look different at night. Remember that in the dark, visual navigation markers you rely on during the day may be invisible. Chart your route to your fireworks-viewing spot in advance and use GPS-enabled electronics to help you find it, if necessary.


5.    Listen Up! Follow the directions issued to boaters by U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary officials as to where you may safely anchor to view the fireworks away from sparks and ash.


6.    Relax and enjoy the show. Don’t be in a rush to get home; let some of the boat traffic clear out before you raise anchor after the fireworks display is over.

7.    Lights on. Don’t forget to check that your navigation lights are working and carry a couple of extra flashlights and batteries just in case. You don’t want to operate your boat in the dark.


Do you have any tips to add? Let us know in the comments.


Tags:  2019-20  boating safety  fireworks  holiday  july 4th  Life Jacket  night boating  Sober Skipper 

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Beware of hidden boating and swimming danger: Electric Shock Drowning

Posted By Gail Kulp, Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Updated: Monday, June 8, 2020
GUEST BLOG: The Sea Tow Foundation has partnered with Safe Electricity to bring you this important information.
Beware of Hidden Boating and Swimming Danger: Electric Shock Drowning

by Erin Hollinshead, Executive Director, Safe Electricity

Safe Electricity and the Sea Tow Foundation have overarching missions: to save lives and reduce accidents.

Much like Sea Tow  Foundation’s job is to increase awareness about safe boating practices, our job at Safe Electricity is to educate about dangers associated with electricity, including electrical sources near water.

Most electrical dangers cannot be seen or heard, and Electric Shock Drowning (ESD) is no exception.  ESD happens when electrical current leaks into water from a nearby electrical source, such as a yacht, boat or marina dock.

Just as you wouldn't use a blow dryer with one hand submerged in a sink full of water, you would not knowingly jump into a body of water that has electricity running through it. Once someone jumps into the tainted water, an unsuspecting person can become paralyzed and drown due to the electrical current invading his or her body.

Boating enthusiasts and marina employees can play a huge part in preventing ESD, since outdated wiring and a lack of proper safety equipment on boats and docks can cause electricity to leak or spread into the water.

Safe Electricity offers these ESD safety tips:

While Swimming or Boating

·         Do not swim within 100 yards of any freshwater marina or boatyard or around private or public docks with electrical service.

·         If you are swimming and feel tingling or shock, swim away from the dock or any other electrical source. “If you feel a shock, swim away from the dock”  is a good way to remember this. Yell to someone on shore to cut the power source.

·         If you think you are swimming in water that could be electrified, try to stay upright, tuck your legs up so that you are more compact, and swim away from anything you think could be energizing the water.

·         Do not jump in to help if you suspect someone is in electrified water; instead, cut the power, throw a float, and call 9-1-1.

·         Never dive into water or work on underwater components when your boat is plugged into shore power.

Prevention and Maintenance

·         Make sure your boat’s electrical system is always in good working order and have it inspected annually by a qualified electrician who is trained to American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) specifications. Consider purchasing your own clamp meter to test for stray electricity.

·         Have your qualified electrician install an ELCI (equipment leakage circuit interrupter) on your boat or use a power cord that has an ELCI.

·         Do not use a common household extension cord to provide shore power to your boat. Use, and encourage others, to use shore power cords that meet UL standards.

·         Talk to marina owners and operators about the dangers of ESD.

·         All docks should have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) on the circuits that feed electricity to the docks. GFCIs should be checked often to make sure they are in working order.

 For more information about safety around electricity, visit

Safe Electricity is the award-winning, public awareness program of the Energy Education Council, a 501(c) 3 (not-for-profit organization) established in 1952 on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. With offices located in Springfield, Ill., Safe Electricity operates under the University of Illinois Extension and is led by the EEC Board of Directors. Since the Safe Electricity program was created in 2001, it has provided thousands safety-minded resources to its more than 500 utility members from across the country to help save lives and reduce injuries.

Tags:  2019-20  boating safety  Electric Shock Drowning  Guest Blog  Safe Electricity 

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Boating in Flooded Waters – Don’t Do It

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, June 15, 2020
Updated: Monday, June 8, 2020

Boating in Flooded Waters – Don’t Do It


The sun is out and the weather is getting warmer making for a fantastic boating season.  However, the arrival of warmer weather also means that the chance of spring and summer storms increases which can lead to flooding. Although it may be tempting to take your boat out on your home rivers or lakes while the water is high or even go boating in an area that used to be a field or park but is now covered in water, it is imperative to stay away for your safety and the safety of others.


Some of the dangers that can arise when your local waterways are flooded include:

·         Submerged hazards and debris such as entire trees, fence posts, parts of buildings and other structures can be hidden beneath the water’s surface.

·         Strong currents can knock power poles and their lines and electrical equipment into the water. This can create energized areas of water where electric shock is a possibility. 

·         Faster currents make it much more challenging to operate your boat when the current is strong and rapid.

·         Markers such as buoys and beacons might be moved or damaged when an area is flooded and cannot be relied upon for safe navigation.

·         Water is still very cold this time of year even if the air temperature has started to warm up. Cold water significantly increases the risk of hypothermia and can lead to cold shock.


If you absolutely must go out on your boat when your local waterways are flooded, practice the following safety protocols:

·         Do not boat alone. Have an extra set of eyes and hands to look for submerged objects.

·         ALWAYS wear a good fitting life jacket. If you don’t have a life jacket, you can find a Life Jacket Loaner station near you at

·         Carry a device that can be used to contact emergency personnel – such as a VHF radio, satellite phone, or personal locator beacon.

·         Bring along a lot of rope and practice your knots before heading out in case you need to use the rope to tie up your boat or to throw to someone who has fallen into the swift water. Do not enter the water to rescue anyone or anything during flooding.


It is important to remember that there are so many ways to have a wonderful boating experience. Going out in flood waters is incredibly risky and can cause serious harm. But remember, the best way to avoid the hazards of flood water is to stay away them.


Stay safe and keep boating!

Tags:  2019-20  boating in flood  boating safety  Education  flooding  Life Jacket Loaner Program  Life Jackets  Weather 

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Summer of Boating Safely Contest

Posted By Gail Kulp, Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Updated: Monday, June 1, 2020


Sea Tow Foundation’s Summer of Boating Safely Contest

 The Sea Tow Foundation – a national nonprofit dedicated to the education and awareness of safe boating practices – is announcing their “Summer of Boating Safely,” a new contest designed to further its mission.


The Sea Tow Foundation’s mission is to promote safe boating practices that directly reduce accidents, deaths, and property damage related to recreational boating. The Summer of Boating Safely contest will encourage boaters to raise awareness of their safe boating habits and share their selfie video entries via social media. The contest provides a unique opportunity to win prizes by letting boaters show off their own boating safety habits. Some of the prizes include: inflatable life jackets from Onyx outdoor, a Cobra floating VHF radio, a WASP Action Sports Camera and more!


“We know that boating can be a wonderful way to relax and take advantage of the beautiful weather around you, but we want everyone to experience it safely,” said Gail Kulp, executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation. “This contest was put in place to educate boaters everywhere. The best part is that everyone can help us in our mission with just a simple post on their social media account and they may even win a prize.”


Participants can enter by taking a selfie video answering the question of the month and posting it to Facebook or Instagram with a tag to @SeaTowFoundation and the hashtag #summerofboatingsafely. And because this summer is different from all previous summers, entries can be recorded on a boat or in a backyard. On the 15th of each month, one random winner will be chosen from the entries received during the previous month. For a full list of rules, click here.


·         Memorial Day: Contest runs from May 25-June 30, winner chosen on July 15

o   Question to answer: What is something you do to boat safely that you wish everyone would do on the water?

·         Independence Day: Contest runs from July 1-31, winner chosen on August 15

o   Question to answer: What do you tell guests on your boat so that everyone on board is boating safely?

·         Labor Day: Contest runs from August 1-September 7, winner chosen on September 15

o   Question to answer: What three items are on your checklist for boating safely?


Now that boating season is officially here, take a moment to showcase your own boating safely skills to the world and try to win some cool prizes at the same time!



Tags:  2019-20  Boating Safety  Contest  Prizes  Summer of Boating Safely 

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Movies About Boating Recommended by the Sea Tow Foundation

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, June 1, 2020

Movies About Boating Recommended by the Sea Tow Foundation


When you want to go boating, but can’t due to bad weather, rising fuel costs, illness, or local regulations that prohibit you from being able to go out, there is still a way to enjoy the boating life from home. The Sea Tow Foundation has curated a list of movies that the whole family can enjoy while waiting to get back on the water. There is nothing like a good film to take your imagination to distant shores.  Even though you might be watching these movies from the couch, this list below is sure to bring your mind back to the water.  To find these movies, simply search for them on your favorite streaming platform or look into checking them out of your local library or renting them online.


Based on a True Story:

The Perfect Storm (2000)

Based on the Perfect Storm of 1991, this drama tells the story of a fishing boat crew caught in a storm after ignoring warnings of a hurricane. This cautionary tale stars Mark Wahlberg and George Clooney.


The Mercy (2017)

The 1968 Golden Globe Race is the single-handed, non-stop circumnavigating competition. This is the true story of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth) and his attempt to win the race.


White Squall (1996)

A group of schoolboys join a ship run by a strong-willed skipper. The boys learn about hard work ethic and discipline to succeed. Things take a dramatic shift when they face a white squall storm.



Jaws (1975)

No list would ever be complete without Spielberg’s’ thriller: Jaws. A great white shark is terrorizing a town destroying their tourism industry. The police chief, a shark hunter, and a  biologist are tasked with saving the town and killing the vicious shark.


Captain Ron (1992)

Starring Kurt Russell and Martin Short, this comedy showcases the story of a family who inherits a yacht and a Navy veteran who cross the Caribbean together. Mishaps and adventure take place and it is sure to keep your crew laughing. 


Titanic (1997)

This classic film depicts the maiden voyage of the Titanic in 1912 and its doom as it sinks after hitting an iceberg. The movie also paints the love affair between a wealthy young woman and a poor artist.


Family Friendly (PG):

Life of Pi (2012)

The film tells the story of a 16-year-old who survives a shipwreck. Now stranded on a lifeboat with a tiger, he has lessons to learn and must figure out how to survive alone.


Moana (2016)

Disney’s Moana is a musical adventure telling the story of a strong-willed daughter who has a passion to sail the oceans and must save her island with a powerful demigod. The movie has won two academy awards and features the voices of Dwayne Johnson and Auli’i Cravalho.


Overboard (1987)

A callous heiress (Goldie Hawn) takes advantage of a carpenter (Kurt Russell) who later is the first to find her after she falls off her yacht and gets amnesia. Out of revenge, he convinces her that she is his wife and the hilarity ensues.



Maiden (2019)

This documentary describes the journey of the all-woman crew of the 1989 Whitbreat Round the World Race. The journey to stand up for what you believe in is difficult, but with hard work, anything is possible.


Morning Light (2008)

In 2007, Roy Disney gave fifteen young people the chance of a lifetime: to compete in TRANSPAC, a 2,300 mile ocean race from Los Angeles to Honolulu. After 6-months of intense training, they had a chance to compete against the best in the race and fight against the elements to win.


Chasing Bubbles (2016)

Alex Rust, a farm boy from Indiana, left his life in corporate America to set sail around the world. He taught himself how to sail with the help of a ‘Sailing for Dummies’ book, and a 4-year adventure began.



What is your favorite movie about boating or that involves boats? Let us know in the comments below.

Tags:  2019-20  boating movies  movies about boating 

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Boating Safety Frequently Asked Questions

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Friday, May 29, 2020
Updated: Thursday, May 7, 2020

Boating Safety Frequently Asked Questions

The Sea Tow Foundation has assembled a list of answers to questions we hear most often. If the answer to your question is not listed here it may be in another post on our blog - try searching our blog for that topic. You can also ask your question in the comment section and we will be sure to add it.


How to Boat Safely and Socially Distance During COVID 19

A: Everyone’s life has changed as a result of the Coronavirus, but boating can still be a wonderful activity to participate in while practicing social distancing. The Sea Tow Foundation wants to encourage you to get out on the water and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, but we ask that you do it safely and legally. We’ve compiled a list of 10 Dos and Don’ts to help you plan a great day on the water. Click this link for details.


What life jackets are required to be carried on my recreational boat?

A: In general, Federal law requires that you must have a Coast Guard-approved, wearable life jacket that is in good and serviceable conditions and of the appropriate size for each person onboard your vessel. In addition, boats greater than 16 feet in length must carry a Coast Guard-approved throwable device (Type IV). A throwable device is not required on canoes or kayaks regardless of length. For more information on exemptions and the proper use of life jackets, click this link.


When should I wear my Life Jacket?

A: The USCG recommends wearing your life jacket at all times when the boat is underway.


What are the federal regulations for life jacket wear for children?

A: On a vessel that is underway, children under 13 years of age must wear an appropriate U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable life jacket unless they are below deck or within an enclosed cabin. If a state has established a child life jacket wear requirement that differs from the Coast Guard requirement, the state requirement will be applicable on waters subject to that state's jurisdiction. Contact your state boating authority for more information.


Am I required to carry a Life Jacket on my Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP).

A: Yes, when used beyond the narrow limits of a swimming, surfing or bathing area a SUP is considered a vessel and is required to carry a life jacket for everyone on board like any other boat.


Who can wear a Coast Guard-approved inflatable Life Jacket?

A: Inflatable life jackets are generally intended for persons over 80 lbs (39kg). To meet life jacket carriage requirements, the intended wearer must be over 16 years of age. See the life jacket’s label for more information.


Is my boating safety certificate valid to operate a boat in another state?

A: In most cases, yes. However, there are a few states that do not honor a certificate obtained outside of their state. Always check the state laws where you will be boating to ensure your current certificate will be accepted.


How do I dispose of expired pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals (VDS) or marine flares?

A: The disposal of expired pyrotechnic devices should be done in accordance with local county and state hazardous waste regulations. Please check with these local authorities to obtain the correct disposal procedures.


How do I register my Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) and Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or submit an updated registration form?

A: You can register online at this link.


What Visual Distress Signals must I carry on my boat?

A: Visual distress signals are required to be carried onboard vessels operating on the Great Lakes, High Seas, Territorial Seas and connecting waters seaward of a point where the width of the entrance exceeds 2 nautical miles, with certain exceptions. For more information on the types and quantities required and proper use of visual distress signals, click this link.


What is a Vessel Safety Check?

A: A Vessel Safety Check (VSC) is a courtesy examination of your boat (vessel) to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. The volunteer VSC examiner may also make recommendations and discuss safety issues that can make you a safer boater. No citations will be given if the boat does not pass. The examiner will supply you with a copy of the evaluation so that you may follow up with any recommendations. Vessels that pass the examination will be able to display the distinctive VSC decal. The decal does not exempt boaters from law enforcement boarding but indicates to boarding officers that the boat has been examined and found to be in compliance with safety equipment regulations. Vessel Examiner is a trained volunteer specialist and a member of either the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Power Squadrons, or in some cases state volunteer examiners.


When should I file a float plan?

A: You should complete a float plan and leave it with a responsible party each and every time you get underway.


When should I turn on or display my navigation lights?

A: Navigation lights are to be turned on or displayed from sunset to sunrise and when operating in or near areas of restricted visibility (e.g., fog, snow, and heavy rain).


Do I need a horn on my boat?

A: Navigation Rules require sound signals to be made under certain circumstances, such as meeting, crossing, and overtaking other vessels. Recreational vessels are also required to use sound signals during periods of reduced visibility and while at anchor. See A Boater's Guide to the Federal Requirements for Recreational Boats for the types of sound producing devices required for your specific vessel. A vessel of less than 39.4 feet (12 meters) must, at a minimum, have some means of making an efficient sound signal (i.e., handheld air horn, athletic whistle, installed horn, etc.). A human voice is not acceptable. A vessel 39.4 feet (12 meters) or greater must have a sound signaling appliance capable of producing an efficient sound signal, audible for a mile, with a 4- to 6-second duration.


Do you have any other questions? Try searching our blog or ask your question in the comments below.

Tags:  Frequently Asked Questions  Life Jacket  Sober Skipper 

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