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Wearing Life Jackets is Important

Posted By Gail Kulp, Thursday, May 21, 2020
Updated: Thursday, April 9, 2020

May 21 - Wearing Life Jackets is Important

Life jackets save lives, but only if they are worn. The U.S. Coast Guard requires children under age 13 to wear them, but anyone older is just required to carry life jackets on board, although a few activities like water skiing require that they be worn. It is best to always wear a life jacket, regardless of this requirement, because you never know when you’ll need one and finding one and putting it on takes too long in an emergency.

It’s also just as important that your life jacket fits properly. Having the wrong size life jacket can prove fatal if you needed it because the life jackets are sized for a certain amount of foam to float a person based on their weight. And, the life jacket fits based on the chest size measurement of the person as well. Click here to learn more about how to properly fit a life jacket on yourself and your children.

If you don’t have enough life jackets for everyone on board or they aren’t the correct sizes for everyone on board, you can stop by a Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Station and borrow one for free! Our life jacket loaner stations are stocked with Onyx brand life jackets in sizes to fit every member of your family from babies to adults. Simply return the borrowed life jacket at the end of your boating trip so that the next person can use it.

The letter for today is W.

Tags:  2019-20  Boating Safety  Life Jacket Loaner Program  Life Jacket Program  Life Jackets  National Safe Boating Week 

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Sea Tow Foundation Adds New Life Jacket Loaner Stations

Posted By Gail Kulp, Wednesday, May 20, 2020


Sea Tow Foundation Adds New Life Jacket Loaner Stations

SOUTHOLD, N.Y. The Sea Tow Foundation – a national nonprofit dedicated to the education and awareness of safe boating practices – announced today that it has partnered with an additional 87 organizations and agencies to add new or restock existing Life Jacket Loaner Stations for the 2020 Summer boating season.

With more than 650 Life Jacket Loaner Stations already located throughout the United States, the Sea Tow Foundation is also offering tips and guidelines for boaters using life jackets from a loaner station, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many agencies and organizations depend on our experience and knowledge in boating safety and our expertise in life jacket loaner programs,” said Gail Kulp, executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation. “Since the virus has impacted all of us in one way or another, we know it is important to provide guidance to boaters that want to borrow life jackets from our loaner stands. We want to continue to ensure that drownings can be prevented through loaner life jackets that are available to be borrowed at no cost.”

With the health and safety of boaters and life jacket loaner station hosts in mind, the Sea Tow Foundation is providing the following tips and guidelines for consideration:

1.    Follow local and state guidelines regarding closures of beaches, boat ramps, marinas, and other locations that have traditionally provided life jacket loaner stations. If one of these locations is closed, a loaner station previously located there will not be available.

2.    Do not go boating or spend time in public if you have a fever or are feeling sick.

3.    Wear your life jacket if you go boating and ensure that children under age 13 are wearing their life jackets while the boat is in motion as required by the U.S. Coast Guard.

4.    Be sure to also follow the other Sea Tow Foundation social distancing tips while boating.

The Sea Tow Foundation has also provided some general cleaning and disinfecting guidelines for cleaning life jackets.  

“We consulted Onyx Outdoor, the manufacturer we purchase our loaner life jackets from, as well as representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, who oversee our grant for the life jacket loaner program, to help develop signage and language to include on every loaner station,” Kulp noted. “Stickers are being provided to each loaner station host in the coming weeks and new loaner station signage will be printed with the wording already on it.”

All Sea Tow Foundation life jacket loaner stations will contain the following language: “Life jackets are provided for the community. Each user who borrows a life jacket is obligated to inspect the life jacket prior to use and to return it clean and in good working order for the next user. These life jackets are not inspected or maintained after each use. Life jackets are borrowed at your own risk.”

Through its Life Jacket Loaner program, the Sea Tow Foundation has distributed more than  65,000 life jackets to local businesses, agencies and organizations across the country since 2008 to develop life jacket loaner programs in their local areas.

The more than 650 life jacket loaner stations currently in operation are placed in locations where boaters will have easy access to the life jackets, such as boat ramps, marinas, and parks. Boaters may borrow the life jackets at no cost and are asked to return them when they are finished so that they are available for others to use.

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Open a Book and Learn About Boating Safety

Posted By Gail Kulp, Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Updated: Thursday, April 9, 2020

May 20 - Open a Book and Learn About Boating Safety

How long has it been since you opened a book or a web browser to brush up on your boating safety skills? Today, we challenge you to do just that. Learn a new boating safety fact, take a boating safety class, read your boat or engine’s manual, or learn about general boat maintenance. You never know when you’ll have to put the tips into practice, so it is a good idea to learn about them when it isn’t an emergency. You can even log onto our website at where we provide lots of tips and boating safety information.

There are so many resources that we can’t share all of them, but our partners at America’s Boating Club offer online courses on power boating, sailing, fishing and paddling, plus the chance to get together with other boat lovers on a regular basis. Whatever your boating lifestyle, they have you covered.

Once you’ve completed the course – Open your email and share with us what you’ve learned! 

Today’s letter to the secret phrase is O.

Tags:  2019-20  America's Boating Club  Boating Safety  Boating Safety Course  National Safe Boating Week 

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Text Someone Where you are Going

Posted By Gail Kulp, Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Updated: Thursday, April 9, 2020

May 19 - Text Someone Where you are Going


Texting or telling someone your float plan for the day ensures that if your boat excursion extends longer than planned or if you run into trouble, someone will know where you were headed and have an idea of where to send rescuers to look for you.

Thousands of hours and dollars are spent searching for missing boaters each year. While many of these searches are for a good reason, a number of them are due to the fact that no one knew when the boaters were supposed to be back or where they were going in the first place.

Taking five minutes to fill out a float plan would have prevented many of these needless searches or allowed rescuers to narrow down the area in which they are searching. The purpose of a float plan is to explain where you plan to boat, how long you will be gone, and when you plan to return. In addition, you should provide a number to call if you fail to return by the appointed time. You should give your float plan to a trusted friend or family member staying on the store. And, at the end of your boating trip, don't forget to call your friend or family member to let him/her know that you made it home safely. Click this link to the US Coast Guard Auxiliary's Float Plan Form. Please note that this is not filed with the Coast Guard and will still need to be printed and given to a friend or family member.

Today’s letter is T.

Tags:  2019-20  Boating Safety  Float Plan  National Safe Boating Week  US Coast Guard Auxiliary 

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Attach an Engine Cut Off Device

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, May 18, 2020
Updated: Thursday, April 9, 2020

May 18 - Attach an Engine Cut Off Device

When you get in a car, you buckle up your seatbelt before you drive anywhere. Similarly, before driving a boat, the operator needs to attach an engine cutoff device before turning on the boat’s engine. The reason why an engine cut-off device is so important is that it will stop the propeller from moving if someone were to fall in the water.

In most boats, a lanyard is available at the helm and it is supposed to be attached to the boat operator’s wrist or life jacket. Many find this restrictive and it only works if the operator is thrown overboard, so wireless options have been created to allow protection for the operator and all of the passengers.

FELL Marine is a close partner to the Sea Tow Foundation and they provide a vast array of wireless man overboard systems. In fact, Sea Tow captains use FELL Marine’s MOB+ system because they are often away from the helm as they are drawing tow lines or providing a jump start, and yet they are protected from an accidental propeller strike because they are wearing a FOB attached to their life jackets.

Today’s letter is A. Are you any closer to guessing the mystery phrase?

Tags:  2019-20  Boating Safety  Engine Cutoff Device  Fell Marine  Lanyard  National Safe Boating Week  Propeller 

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Emergency Signaling Devices are Required

Posted By Gail Kulp, Sunday, May 17, 2020
Updated: Thursday, April 9, 2020

May 17 - Emergency Signaling Devices are Required

If there is an emergency on your boat, it is time to signal for help! This may mean using a flag, a whistle, a horn, or a mirror, but the most commonly carried piece of emergency signaling equipment is a set of flares. However, there are two issues with flares. 1) Where to store them to keep them dry and yet easily accessible and 2) They expire after 3 years and need to be replaced.

First, you need a kit that will be resourceful in the toughest of situations – that’s where Life Cell Marine comes in with its variety of floating boxes. These boxes are designed to hold all of your safety equipment in one place so it’s easily accessible and all equipment remains operational in the event that your boat sinks because the boxes float!

Sirius Signal Distress Signals replace the one-time use of your typical pyrotechnic flares with a single U.S. Coast Guard approved SOS distress device. This electronic flare is easy to spot and operate and it never expires. Sirius Signal also features an alert app – which helps communicate float plans, provides instant communication of location and the graphic indication of an SOS distress call.

Now that you’re ready in case of an emergency with your Emergency Signaling Device – are you ready to guess our mystery phrase too? Today’s letter is E.

Tags:  2019-20  Boating Safety  Emergency Signaling Devices  flares  Life Cell Marine  National Safe Boating Week  Sirius Signal 

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Sober Skippers Belong on Every Boating Trip

Posted By Gail Kulp, Saturday, May 16, 2020
Updated: Thursday, April 9, 2020

May 16 - Sober Skippers Belong on Every Boating Trip

A full day in the sun enjoying the open water is on the agenda. Your friends are invited and everything is ready to go, but first, before the day gets started, you need to know who is your sober skipper? Let’s make that plan now! 

Launched in 2015, the Sober Skipper program encourages boaters to be or to designate a sober skipper before every boating trip in an effort to eliminate accidents and deaths related to Boating Under the Influence (BUI). Sober Skippers are identified by wearing a yellow wristband indicating that the person has accepted the responsibility before the boat leaves the dock and that the Sober Skipper is a qualified, non-alcohol drinking operator in charge of the boat.

 Sober Skipper wristbands are free and can be requested online at

One of the biggest supporters of the Sea Tow Foundation’s Sober Skipper program has been Freedom Boat Club. Designed for folks who want to access a versatile fleet of boats on a regular basis, at an affordable cost of entry, Freedom Boat Club is part of 150 groups in 145 cities across 29 states. They collaborate with the Sea Tow Foundation to promote the Sober Skipper Program in each of their local communities.

The wind, vibration, noise, and the sun that you experience while boating can impair balance, coordination and concentration all on their own. Adding alcohol or drugs intensifies these effects. And since alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in boating accidents every year, it is critical to ensure that every boat has a Sober Skipper at the helm.

And in case you missed it, today’s letter is S.

Tags:  2019-20  Boating Safety  Freedom Boat Club  National Safe Boating Week  Sober Skipper 

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Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, May 15, 2020
Updated: Thursday, April 9, 2020

May 15 - Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day

Today is the annual Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day and the unofficial kick-off to National Safe Boating Week. Life jackets save lives and this fun day helps remind everyone to ensure their life jacket is ready for the summer season. Since we’re all practicing social distancing and many of us are working from home these days, we’re asking you and the people living with you to put on your life jacket and take a group photo! Then, head over to our Facebook page and share your life jacket photo!


National Safe Boating Week is a focused, week-long event that brings safety awareness to boaters prior to the start of the summer boating season. This year, National Safe Boating Week will be celebrated from May 16-22, 2020 and the Sea Tow Foundation has created a fun daily activity for you and your family. Starting tomorrow, we’ll be talking more about how to keep boating fun and safe each day during National Safe Boating Week, but each day provides a clue that you will use to guess what the mystery phrase will be at the end of the week.


Are you up for the challenge?

Tags:  2019-20  Boating Safety  National Safe Boating Week  Wear Your Life Jacket  Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day 

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Great Books for Boaters to Read at Home or On the Water

Posted By Gail Kulp, Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Great Books for Boaters to Read at Home or On the Water

It seems that in these uncertain times, many of us are getting our escape from land through the ever-changing waters of a good book. No matter what your interest is, the Sea Tow Foundation has created a list of books that can whisk your imagination away. Try to take some time to sit back and relax whether you are on land or on water and enjoy a good book with a boating connection. You can easily borrow these books in paper or digital format from your local library or you can purchase them from your favorite bookseller.


For those who like a feel-good story:

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

This is the story of the nine working-class boys on the American Olympic Rowing Team who competed in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.


Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi

An 18-year-old had an opportunity to sail across the world alone or obtain a college education. She choose to sail. 


Everyone Said I Should Write a Book: The Travels and Adventures of a Sailor and Explorer by Jonathan White

This modern adventurer begins his series of short stories by  depicting crazy experiences that only make you want to read more about his life.


For those who enjoy the classics:

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

This is the short story of a struggling Cuban fisherman who faces challenges and battles for what he desires.


Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

An adventurous boy finds a map and sets sail to find buried treasure. Aboard the ship is Long John Silver who wants to keep the treasure all to himself.


Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Revered as “the greatest book of the sea ever written” this book describes the quest of a sea captain and his desire for revenge. 


For those who want an exciting adventure:

Typhoon by Joseph Conrad

A British-built steamer sails into a typhoon. What does the captain do when the crew disagrees? What happens to the steamer? All answers are revealed at the end of this short adventure novel.


The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett

A mid-nineteenth century exploration into the Arctic. It explores the mysteries and discoveries of the explorers and their families at home.


Over the Top by Adrian Flanagan

Adrian Flanagan is the first person to ever sail vertically around the world – and he did it alone. Dangerous waters and an epic experience ensue.


For those who want to learn something new:

Chapman Piloting & Seamanship 68th Edition

This trusted book for boaters discusses everything from regulations to navigation and so much more. This book has it all.


The Useful Knots Book: How to Tie the 25+ Most Practical Rope Knots by Sam Fury

This is a guide to the most common practical knots a person might need to know. It comes with instructions and detailed images for tying each knot.


Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual by Nigel Calder

Generators, plumbing, corrosion and more. This book can provide advice on how to take care of your boat and many complications that may arise.



Do you have a favorite book about boating? Please share below in the comments.

Tags:  2019-20  boating books. boating reading list 

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Boating Songs to Enjoy at Home or On the Water

Posted By Gail Kulp, Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Boating Songs to Enjoy at Home or On the Water


Boating is a way of life – on and off the water. While you’re spending more time at home right now, we thought it would be good to listen to some songs about boating while you wait for that next trip to the water. We’ve crafted a family-friendly list of boating songs to enjoy whether you like country, oldies or pop. And you can even take this music out on the boat whenever you get back on the water!


Click here for our curated Spotify playlist and feel free to add more boat songs to the list for everyone to enjoy!


Better Boat, Kenny Chesney

Buy Me a Boat, Chris Janson

Come Sail Away, Styx

Cool Change, Little River Band

Dad’s Sailboat, Walker Hayes

Drive, Alan Jackson

D’yer Mak’er, Led Zeppelin

Guys Named Captain, Kenny Chesney

If I had a Boat, Lyle Lovett

Knee Deep, Zac Brown Band & Jimmy Buffett

Pontoon, Little Big Town

Redneck Yacht Club, Craig Morgan

Sail Away, David Gray

Sailing, Christopher Cross

Soak up the Sun, Sheryl Crow

Son of a Sailor, Jimmy Buffett

Water, Brad Paisley

When the Ship Comes In, Bob Dylan

Wouldn’t it be Nice, Beach Boys



Let us know in the comments what song you’d like us to add to the list! And don’t forget to share the list with your friends to enjoy!

Tags:  2019-20  boating and socal distancing  boating songs  boating songs playlist 

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