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Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips: Dangers of Fire On A Boat!

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2020

Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips: Dangers of Fire On A Boat!

One of the scariest things that can happen while you are on a boat is to see flames. A lot of people make the assumption that being surrounded by water will keep you safe because you can put out the fire using the water, but these people soon find out that they are wrong. Water should NEVER be used on a chemical or electrical fire and the majority of boat fires are caused by the burning of fuels or an electrical problem. This is when it is important to have a U.S. Coast Guard Approved Marine Type B fire extinguisher onboard. In fact, any boat less than 26 feet in length is required to carry at least one Type B fire extinguisher and, as the size of the boat increases, the number and/or size of required fire extinguishers that are needed on board also increases.

It is also important to keep your fire extinguisher in a readily accessible area and to know how to use it before you have to use it. This is where the acronym P.A.S.S. can help you out: Pull pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the handle and Sweep from side to side. If a fire does erupt on your boat, stop the engine immediately and make sure that everyone on board is wearing a life jacket in case you have to abandon the boat. If possible, position the boat so that the fire is downwind and then use the fire extinguisher. If the fire continues to burn after using the extinguisher, place a MAYDAY call on your VHF radio and prepare to abandon ship.

Click here for more Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips

Tags:  Fire  Fire Extinguisher  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips  VHF Radio 

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Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips: Choose the Right Fuel for Your Boat!

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2020

Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips: Choose the Right Fuel for Your Boat!

Do you ever pull up to the fuel dock and wonder to yourself what all those numbers mean? Much like your car or truck, your boat has specific needs when it comes to fuel. While your typical fuel pump at the gas station down the street has options for Regular, Mid-Grade and Premium gasoline for your car, the pump down at the local marina is a bit different.

These days, nearly all gas, whether it’s for your car, truck or boat, contains a chemical called ethanol. When mixed with gasoline, these ethanol blends help to reduce carbon emissions and limit environmental impact caused by traditional fuel. In fact, they are often sold for Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFV).

The problem comes when introducing ethanol into marine engines in boats. When ethanol comes into contact with water, it will create a corrosive mix that can harm the boat’s engine, which could leave you stranded in the middle of your favorite waterway.

While some areas around the country may still have access to the ethanol-free gasoline that was the norm decades ago, most will have some sort of blend. Keeping the ethanol content at or below 10% is critical when purchasing fuel for your boat.

For example, gas sold as E15 has 15% ethanol whereas E85 is 85% ethanol, so both of these options would provide too much ethanol for your boat’s engine. E10 fuel is right at the 10% mark and would work on most gasoline boat engines, but it is important to check with your boat and engine manufacturer to be sure.

The next time you pull up to the fuel dock, remember to use either an ethanol-free gasoline or an E10 blend in your boat. Making sure you use the correct fuel will save you the headache of having to call your local Sea Tow captain for a tow when your boat’s engine stops working and it will also save you thousands of dollars to repair or replace a damaged motor.

 

Click here for more Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips

Tags:  E15  E85  Ethanol  FFV  Fuel  Tow Bee  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips  Tow Bee Safety Tips 

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Tow Bee Safety Tip: Check Weather Forecast Before Each Outing!

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2020

Tow Bee Safety Tip: Check Weather Forecast Before Each Outing!

A beautiful morning on the water can quickly turn into a windy, stormy afternoon. This is why it is important to check the weather forecast before you head out on the water. You can check the marine forecast for your area as well as access the Weather Channel on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Marine Forecasts page.

It is also important to continue checking the weather while you are out on the water. You should keep an eye out for changes in wind direction and/or wind speed. And you can also watch for the buildup of dark clouds, especially in the western sky..

If you have a VHF radio, you can tune to the weather channel frequency. Broadcasts of local and coastal marine forecasts run on a continuous cycle from the National Weather Service. Tidal information and real time observations from buoys are also included.

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For additional boating safety tips throughout the various seasons, check out our blog posts linked below:

Fall

Winter

Spring  

Summer 

Hurricane Season   

 

Click here for more Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips

Tags:  National Weather Service  NOAA  Tow Bee  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips  Tow Bee Safety Tips  VHF Radio  Weather 

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Tow Bee Safety Tip: Carbon Monoxide Can Be Deadly!

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2020

 

Tow Bee Safety Tip: Carbon Monoxide Can Be Deadly!

Carbon monoxide (also known as CO) is a tasteless, colorless, odorless gas that is emitted by engines. In open areas, CO is usually dispersed into the air and there are no problems. However, a situation known as the station wagon effect, which involves the wind carrying the exhaust back into the boat, could mean that the boat’s passengers are being affected by the CO. Another way to become overexposed to CO is by playing in the water near the back of the boat while the engine is idling.

When a person is suffering from CO exposure, the person will likely feel light headed, nauseous, weak and complain of a headache. All of these are also symptoms of someone suffering from the flu, food poisoning or sea sickness however the symptoms should be taken seriously. Over exposure to CO can lead to unconsciousness, death or brain damage. To treat the person, move her to an open area with fresh air and turn off the boat’s engine while you assess her condition. If she doesn’t improve or other people begin to feel ill, call for help on your VHF radio or cell phone and get them to a medical facility as soon as possible.

Tags:  Carbon monoxide  Tow Bee  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips 

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Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips!

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2020
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Tow Bee Boating Safety Tip! Take a Boating Safety Course

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Tow Bee Boating Safety Tip! Take a Boating Safety Course

Boating safety courses are a great way to brush up on your knowledge while getting a discount on your boat owner's insurance at the same time. There are many different options available when it comes to choosing a course. First, make sure that the course is approved for the state(s) in which you will do the majority of your boating.

Click here to find a list of courses

Then, you will need to decide what course format to take. If you want to take the course at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home, you can take one of the many courses offered online like the one offered by our friends at iLearntoBoat.com. There are also classroom-based courses which can be completed in one sitting (usually on a Saturday) or you can take the course over a series of a few days or weeks. The classroom courses may be taught by a representative from the state boating agency, the U.S. Power Squadrons, Coast Guard Auxiliary or a private company.

Tags:  Boating Safety Course  Education  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips 

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Navigation Resources

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Monday, December 14, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Navigation Resources

Navigation Rules establish a consistent way to navigate safely and avoid collisions when two boats are crossing paths, are on course to meet head-on, or when one boat wishes to overtake another.

The U.S. Aids to Navigation System is a system maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard, consisting of visual, audible, and electronic signals which are designed to assist the prudent mariner in the process of navigation. The aids to navigation system is not intended to identify every shoal or obstruction to navigation which exists in the navigable waters of the United States, but rather provides for reasonable marking of marine features as resources permit.

Keeping up to date with changes in navigation information is both important and easy.

Scan these links for more details.

• GPS Overview

• Take a Navigation Test

• USCG Navigation Center

• U.S. Charts

Tags:  2015-16  GPS  Navigation  Navigation Rules  US Coast Guard 

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How to Get a Boating License or Boating Certificate

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

How to Get a Boating License or Boating Certificate

A boating safety class can lead to getting your boating license or boating certificate. A boating license or boating certificate may be required, depending on the type of boat you are using, your age, and the state where you are planning to boat. Getting this education benefits skippers and passengers alike, whatever your age. Knowledge about boating safety can reduce accidents, fatalities, and property damage related to recreational boating. Plus, taking a boating safety class and getting your boating license or boating certificate can often provide you with a discount on your boat owner’s insurance.

Help keep boating safe and fun! Check out the list of in-person and online boating safety courses below and get your boating license or boating certificate today! For more information, check out Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of this page!

In Person Classes

Online

Interactive Online

FAQ About Getting a Boating License or Boating Certificate

 

Why should I get a boating license or boating certificate?

Everyone can benefit from taking a boating safety course and you receive a boating license or boating certificate after you pass the class! Whether you’re an experienced boater or looking to operate a vessel for the very first time, there are countless benefits involved with taking a boating safety class. For inexperienced boaters, you’ll learn necessary skills such as boat operation, communication, navigation and safety techniques. More experienced boaters may learn about regular boat maintenance, docking against the wind or current, and navigation rules. As an added benefit, getting a boating license or boating certificate can help save money on your boat insurance premiums, too.

Do I need to have a boating license or boating certificate in order to operate a vessel?

The quick answer is that all depends on your state’s laws and regulations. Regardless of your state’s laws, it’s a good idea for all boaters to get a boating license or boating certificate to keep up to date and refreshed on important skills and techniques. No matter what your state’s requirements include, boating safety and education have been proven to save lives, and, as boaters, we all have the responsibility to operate our vessels safety and effectively.

 

What will I learn from a boating safety class to get my boating license or boating certificate?

It may vary from class to class, but most boating safety courses will teach a variety of important skills. You’ll not only be taught basic skills such as boat operation, navigation and etiquette, but you’ll also learn key communications techniques and will be familiarized with state laws and regulations.

Where can I find a boating safety class to take to get my boating license or boating certificate?

Depending on where you live, you have many options when it comes to where and how you can take these classes. For example, our friends at America’s Boating Club offer a number of classes – both online and in-person – where boaters of all ages can learn and freshen up their skills. There is also an interactive online course offered by iLearntoBoat that may spark your interest. Your state boating agency also offers boating safety courses, so check out their schedule as well.

What is the best time to take a boating safety class to get a boating license or boating certificate?

There’s no wrong time to take a boating safety course, but it’s never a bad idea to enroll at the beginning of your area’s boating season. If you’re looking for a less busy time of year, try taking your class over the winter months while your boat is not being used. That way, you’re up-to-date and ready to go by the time you head out to the water for the season’s first cruise.

 

I am an experienced boater, why should I get a boating license or boating certificate?

In many states, you may be required to have a boating license or boating certificate to operate a boat. It all depends on your age, the type of boat you operate and where you boat. Boating safety classes are beneficial to all types of boaters, no matter your age or experience level. Even the most experienced boaters can learn something new or be reminded about something they may have forgotten. Laws and regulations are constantly changing, so a boating safety class will ensure that you are up to date on all your state’s requirements. Even if you’re sure you know everything, you may be able to save some money on your boat insurance premium by getting a boating license or boating certificate.

I only use Personal Watercraft (PWCs), do I need to take have a boating license or boating certificate?

In some states, a boating license or boating certificate is required for all PWC users or for PWC users of a specific age, so be sure to check your state laws before you leave the dock!

I only use non-motorized boats like canoes, kayaks and stand-up padleboards (SUP). Do I need to take have a boating license or boating certificate?

There are courses aimed specifically for non-motorized boaters. The American Canoe Association offers on-water courses all around the country. And there is a free online paddlesports course offered by BoaterExam as well.

I lost my Boating License or Boating Certificate. Where can I get a copy?

The first step is to go back to the company, organization or agency who issued your boating license or boating certificate. If you can’t remember their name or they are no longer in business, the next step is to contact your state’s boating office to see if they have a copy of your boating license or boating certificate on file. If your paperwork is no longer on file, you may need to take another course and get a new boating license or boating certificate issued.

Tags:  Boating License 

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