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Emergency Beacons Transmit Peace of Mind on The Water

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 6, 2020
Updated: Thursday, April 2, 2020

Emergency Beacons Transmit Peace of Mind on The Water

Whether you’re planning a long weekend trip on the water or a short voyage offshore to fish, don’t let a lack of preparedness come in the way of having a fun and safe trip. On every boater’s checklist should be a 406 MHz beacon, such as a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) for yourself, and an Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) for your boat.

An EPIRB is registered to the vessel and is designed to be mounted on a boat; it will emit a distress signal while floating for over 48 hours continuously. A PLB is smaller in size and is intended to be worn by the boater – usually clipped onto the boater’s life jacket.  While waterproof, you still must keep them out of the water when activated and they will work for over 24 hours continuously.

“If something were to go wrong, having the ability to let rescuers know where you are is critical,” said Gail Kulp, executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation – a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of safe boating practices. “Although emergency situations may not arise – and we hope they don’t – it’s better to be prepared than not. EPIRBs and PLBs are helpful tools to let your rescuers find you quickly.”

PLBs and EPIRBs have saved more than 41,000 lives worldwide since the 1980s. ACR Electronics and the Sea Tow Foundation are using April 6th (406 Day) as a way to bring greater awareness to the technology that not only keeps boaters safe, but also the rescuers.

So, why consider a beacon? When you are out on the water, your cell phone might be out of range, and incidents happen just as quickly on water as they do on land. Beacons float and are waterproof. When a beacon is activated, it sends your information up to the search and rescue satellites, which is then sent to a Coast Guard Command Center in your area, where a search and rescue watch commander will be alerted, and help can be dispatched within minutes.

Nearly all of Sea Tow’s 600-plus captains use ACR beacons while out on the job. Do you have one, or have you ever had to use one while on the water? Tell us about it in the comments below.

 

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Press Release: Sea Tow Foundation Launches New Website

Posted By Gail Kulp, Thursday, April 2, 2020

Press Release: Sea Tow Foundation Launches New Website

Hopes to Inform Boaters of General Boating Safety Tips and Ways to Connect with Each Other

 

SOUTHOLD, N.Y. – In a time of social distancing and increased Internet use, the Sea Tow Foundation has announced the launch of its newly redesigned website: www.boatingsafety.com.

“Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we know that a lot of people are suddenly at home for extended periods of time and many of them are now working remotely as well, “” said Gail Kulp, executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on safe boating practices that result in fun on the water. “The one thing that all boaters have in common is the desire to always plan that next boating trip whether it is going to be this weekend or next month or sometime in the future and the new Sea Tow Foundation website has lots of materials to help boaters plan a safe and fun day on the water on their next boating trip.”

BoatingSafety.com features a streamlined, modern design, user-friendly functionality, and easy access to essential information about the programs that the Foundation offers. The new website is also completely functional and responsive on both a mobile device or a computer. Along with an abundance of articles about boating safety tips and practices, the new website will also include links to the following information:

·         Life Jacket Loaner Stations

·         Sober Skipper Program

·         Boating Safety Community

·         Donation Opportunities

A new feature on the site is the “Get Involved” page, which allows the Sea Tow Foundation supporters to interact with each other in ways they’ve never explored before. This feature is intended to provide an even greater value to the boating community nationwide, at no charge to them. Registration is free and users not only receive access to the Sea Tow Foundation’s new e-newsletter, but will also be able to connect with groups of dedicated people who are already working together to eliminate boating under the influence and reduce drowning incidents.

In addition, the Sea Tow Foundation’s blog has been completely redesigned and is now easier to search for articles about boating safety classes, seasonal boating safety tips, being prepared for a day on the water, and so much more.

Through its Life Jacket Loaner Program, the Sea Tow Foundation has distributed more than 50,000 life jackets to local businesses and organizations across the country since 2008 to develop life jacket loaner stations 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.

Additional information on the Sea Tow Foundation’s Sober Skipper Program is also available. The goal of the program is to help eliminate Boating Under the Influence (BUI) by encouraging all boaters to make the safe and smart choice to be or to designate a sober skipper before every boating trip. BUI is against the law in every state and territory and in all sizes and types of boats whether they have a motor or not.

“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,” Kulp said. “Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in boating accidents every year, but if every boat were to have a Sober Skipper at the helm, this would be 100% preventable.” 

In addition to its programs, the site also features an online store which includes many printed materials and program supplies to help support the Life Jacket Loaner and the Sober Skipper Programs. Many of these items are completely free to order and can be downloaded and printed at home or they can be shipped right to your home at no charge to you.

 

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Dos and Don’ts for Boating Safety and Social Distancing During COVID 19

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, March 27, 2020

Dos and Don’ts for Boating Safety and Social Distancing During COVID 19

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.

 

1.       Do respect your state and local authorities. If a beach, boat ramp or marina is closed, please do not use it. If you don’t know the current regulations or restrictions for your boating area, you can contact your state boating agency and ask about access points and other important information. Your local Sea Tow captain can also be a great source of information as well.

 

2.       Don’t go boating if you or someone in your boating group is feeling sick or thinks they have been exposed to someone who is sick. Stay home and follow the CDC guidelines.

 

3.       Do go boating only with the people who are currently living with you. Do not invite your friends or extended family to join in during this time of social distancing.

 

4.       Don’t raft up with other boats while out on the water or spend time on the beach or at the dock in groups. Keep your boat and the people in your boat at least 6 feet away from other boats and people.

 

5.       Do continue to carry all of the required boating safety equipment including life jackets, flares, navigation lights, a horn or whistle, a first aid kit, and everything else on your pre-departure checklist.

 

6.       Don’t drink and boat. Continue to be or designate a Sober Skipper for all of your boating trips and remember that you can easily Take the Pledge to be the Sober Skipper on our website at www.soberskipper.com.

 

7.       Do pack your own lunch, drinks and snacks for your day on the water. Many restaurants and marina stores may not be open, so you want to make sure you have everything you need on board.

 

8.       Don’t forget to fuel up before going out on the boat. Fuel docks may not be in operation during this time, so you want to make sure your boat is fueled up and pay attention to the gas gauge during your trip so that you don’t run out.

 

9.       Do clean your boat after going out. This will not only prevent aquatic invasive species from hitchhiking on your boat, but also will ensure there is no trash or other items left lying around. Secure all valuables as well. With state and local regulations changing rapidly, you may not be able to easily return to your boat to take care of things later.

 

10.   Don’t forget to take photos of your day on the water and share them with us on social media @SeaTowFoundation on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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

Tags:  boating and socal distancing  Boating Safety  Coronavirus  COVID  COVID 19 boating  Sober Skipper  Social Distancing 

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Sea Tow Foundation Launches Our Newly Redesigned Website

Posted By Gail Kulp, Thursday, March 12, 2020

Sea Tow Foundation Launches Our Newly Redesigned Website

We are excited to launch our newly redesigned website that is packed with information for recreational boaters to help keep family and friends safe on the water. The refreshed website also has resources for the marine industry to utilize in their promotions to reach out to their customers.

One of the amazing features of our new site, which is still found at boatingsafety.com, is that it is now completely functional and responsive on mobile and desktop versions allowing information to be easily found and shared related to our Life Jacket Loaner Program and our Sober Skipper program as well as plenty of other boating safety resources including our online shop, which now boasts plenty of printed materials and program supplies available for free or can be downloaded and printed at no charge at your home or office.

A favorite feature on our “Get Involved” page allows our supporters to interact with each other in ways we’ve never explored before which will provide an even greater value to the boating community nationwide, at no charge to them. Registration is free and you’ll not only receive access to our new newsletter, but also be able to join groups of dedicated people who are already working together to eliminate boating under the influence and reduce drowning incidents.

Our blog has been completely redesigned and is now easier to search for articles about boating safety classes, seasonal boating safety tips, being prepared for a day on the water, and so much more.

We hope you like the changes, and if you have any feedback, please let us know on Facebook and Instagram or click on the Contact Us link on our website.

Tags:  2019-20  boating safety  Life Jacket  Sea Tow  Sober Skipper  Website. 

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Spring Break Boating Safety Tips

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, March 9, 2020

Spring Break Boating Safety Tips

Spring is here which means it is time for that epic spring break trip that you’ve had planned for months! Warm weather, sunny skies, and fun with friends or family members on the boat are just days away, but before you pack those bags and head out on your spring break trip, the Sea Tow Foundation has some tips to help you have a safe AND fun spring break trip.

1.    Take a Boating Safety Class Now. Many states or other countries require a boating license or for the boater to at least take a boating safety class before renting a boat or putting your boat in their waters. Whether you’re a new boat owner or have years of experience, you’ll pick up some pointers and boost your marine confidence as well as satisfy requirements for boaters in that particular location. Courses are offered online or in person through our friends at the USCG Auxiliary or the America’s Boating Club.

2.    Ask for Advice. Spring break trips often involve traveling to new and exciting destinations. If you are unfamiliar with the bay, lake, river or ocean you’re headed to—especially on vacation—it’s smart to talk to locals. Sea Tow captains in the area will happily share water conditions, current patterns, routes and (bonus!) wildlife watching tips.

3.    Pack the sunscreen. If you’re not used to the sun and warmer temperatures or with being outdoors for a good portion of the day, you will soon by surprised by a nasty sunburn. Put on some sunscreen and don’t forget a hat and sunglasses, too.

4.    Reserve now. If you are planning to rent a boat during spring break, make sure you’ve got the rental confirmed well in advance of your trip and reach out to the company ahead of time to see if you need to bring anything for the boat with you. They should provide you with an orientation to your rental boat as well as all of the safety equipment required. If you are taking your own boat on spring break, make sure your boat trailer is ready to roll and that you know the boat ramp locations as well as where you can park your vehicle and trailer while you’re out on the water.

5.    Once you get to your trip, follow the ABCD rule.

 

a.    Always Wear Life Jackets. Every passenger should wear a properly fitted U.S Coast Guard (USCG)-approved life jacket. And remember that adult-size life jackets aren’t meant for children. If you’ve forgotten to pack your own or need extras, you can always stop by a Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Station to borrow them for the day.

b.    Bring along safety gear. Emergency preparation = peace of mind. No matter the size of your boat, these are the absolute essentials to keep on board:

  •                         Marine VHF radio
  •                         First aid kit
  •                         Fire extinguisher
  •                         Tool kit
  •                         Flashlight and extra batteries
  •                         Duct tape
  •                         Bucket
  •                         Waterproof whistle or horn
  •                         Lines
  •                        Signaling mirror

c.     Check—and Recheck—the Weather. Choppy waters can’t always be predicted. If conditions aren’t favorable, don’t chance it. There are many apps and websites that help you know the conditions before you go. One of our favorite tide and weather apps can be found at Windfinder.com.

d.    Designate a Sober Skipper. Never, ever operate a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The wind, sun and boat vibration all contribute to increased impairment, even after a single beer. Responsible boaters carry plenty of water, non-alcoholic drinks and food on board. To learn more check out our  Sober Skipper program.

6.    Share Your Trip to Social. Did your spring break boating trip really happen if you didn’t document it? Be sure to tag us in all your photos and adventures on Instagram (@seatowfoundation) and Facebook (@SeaTowFoundation)

 

Have a fantastically fun and super safe spring break!

 

Tags:  2019-20  Boating Safety Course  Fire Extinguisher  Float Plan  Life Jacket  Sober Skipper  spring break  Weather 

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Thousands Learn Life Jacket Safety Lessons at Miami Boat Show

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, February 24, 2020

Thousands Learn Life Jacket Safety Lessons at Miami Boat Show

The Sea Tow Foundation has announced that more than 86,000 individuals visited this year’s Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show to see the new boats and boating gear and the Sea Tow Foundation made sure that the attendees received a quick course in the importance of wearing life jackets when on or around the water.

As a result of the show’s captive audience, tens of thousands of boating enthusiasts interacted with staff and volunteers from the Sea Tow Foundation, and nearly 500 of those decided to spend extra time learning more about life jackets. Additionally, 365 children borrowed life jackets for the day while they perused the docks and took part in the sea trials that were available.

For the 5th straight year, the Sea Tow Foundation hosted Life Jacket Loaner Stations at the show, which became the organization’s epicenter for education. All of the Foundation’s life jackets were made available from a generous donation from Onyx and the space for the life jacket loaner stations was provided by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). Volunteers from local schools, businesses and other organizations staffed the Life Jacket Loaner Stations and assisted the Sea Tow Foundation staff in fitting children with life jackets before they ventured onto the docks with their families.

In order to further promote the importance of life jacket use, the Sea Tow Foundation launched its first-ever Life Jacket Selfie Giveaway Contest at this year’s show. Through partnerships with NMMA, Onyx, FELL Marine, FishGillz, Navionics, Source4 and Formula Boats, the Sea Tow Foundation gave away five prize packs valued at $3,600 to  participants who took a selfie while wearing one of the Sea Tow Foundation life jackets at the boat show and posting that photo to social media using the hashtag #LifeJackets4theWin and tagging the Sea Tow Foundation. The contest saw more than 100 people participate in the five days that the contest was open and winners of the prize packs were randomly selected from the social media posts.

“Overall, this year’s Miami International Boat Show was our most successful yet,” said Gail R. Kulp, the Sea Tow Foundation’s executive director. “Not only were we able to interact with 100,000 attendees and teach nearly 500 individuals about life jacket use, we also engaged with countless numbers of boaters, both at the show and watching at home, through our inaugural life jacket selfie contest. We couldn’t be more thrilled with the way things turned out.”

The  Life Jacket Loaner Stations at this year’s boat show are part of the Sea Tow Foundation’s nationwide Life Jacket Loaner Program, which hosts more than 600 loaner stations across 43 states. The Sea Tow Foundation also offers other pop-up life jacket loaner stations at the Tampa, FL Boat Show and the Norwalk, CT Boat Show in addition to the stations featured at the Miami International Boat Show.

 

Tags:  2020  Boating Safety  Contest  Giveaway  Life Jacket Selfie  Press Release  Prizes 

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Life Jacket Selfie Contest to be held at Miami International Boat Show

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, February 10, 2020
Updated: Monday, February 24, 2020

Life Jacket Selfie Contest to be held at Miami International Boat Show

(Southold, NY) The Sea Tow Foundation has announced it will be launching a selfie giveaway contest at the 2020 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show that will help educate boat lovers of all ages on the importance of wearing life jackets. PRESS RELEASE

Through partnerships with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), Onyx Outdoor, FELL Marine, FishGillz, Navionics, Source4 and Formula Boats, the Sea Tow Foundation will be giving away five prize packages valued at $3,600 to Miami International Boat Show attendees and boaters watching from home.

To participate in the contest, the Sea Tow Foundation is asking Miami International Boat Show attendees to stop by its Life Jacket Loaner Stations located at piers 2 and 5 to try on an Onyx life jacket and take a selfie while wearing it in front of the station. Attendees are also welcome to borrow the life jackets to walk the docks and take them out on the water during the sea trails.

Those who are unable to attend the Miami International Boat Show can still enter to win by downloading and printing a graphic from the Sea Tow Foundation’s online store and taking a selfie with this print-out.

Contestants must then upload their photos to Facebook or Instagram, tag the Sea Tow Foundation @SeaTowFoundation, and use the hashtag #LifeJackets4theWin. One winner will be chosen at random each day of the show – February 14-17 – to win a prize pack with one additional winner being chosen from the at-home audience at the end of the week.

Each prize pack is valued at over $700 and includes:

  • An Impulse A-24 In-Sight Automatic Inflatable life jacket from Onyx Outdoor
  • FELL Marine’s MOB+ Wireless Man Overboard engine cutoff system
  • 4 Tickets to next year’s Miami International Boat Show, courtesy of NMMA
  • A pair of floating, polarized FishGillz Sunglasses
  • A duffel bag from Source 4
  • A Navionics Boating Charts App

The Sea Tow Foundation extends special thanks to Formula Boats for its generous donation that will be used to offset shipping costs of the prize packs to each of the winners.

Gail R. Kulp, the Sea Tow Foundation’s executive director, said it’s great to see so many within the boating industry rally behind the Sea Tow Foundation.

“We’re thrilled to have received so much support from our partners within the boating industry,” Kulp said. “Our giveaway contest will be a great way to get boaters’ attention and help continue to educate the public that boating can be safe and fun.”

The Sea Tow Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Stations available to Miami International Boat Show attendees are part of the Foundation’s nationwide Life Jacket Loaner Program, which hosts more than 600 stations on waterways throughout the country where boaters can borrow and return life jackets at no charge. In addition, the Sea Tow Foundation also operates the Sober Skipper Program, which encourages boaters to make the decision to be or to designate a drug and alcohol-free operator for their boats before every trip.

For a full list of contest rules and to see photos of the prizes, click here.

 

 

 

Tags:  2020  Boating Safety  Contest  Giveaway  Life Jacket Selfie  Press Release  Prizes 

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Sea Tow Foundation Blog: 5 Reasons Why Boating is Good for Your Heart

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, February 10, 2020
Updated: Monday, February 24, 2020

Sea Tow Foundation Blog 5 Reasons Why Boating is Good for Your Heart

February is American Heart Month and with Valentine's Day right around the corner, it’s time to give your heart a little extra love!

Luckily for you, boating is a great way to do just that! Don’t believe us? Check out the Sea Tow Foundation’s list below to see five reasons why boating is good for your heart:

  1. It relieves stress – Even the most inexperienced boaters know that stepping onto a boat can make all your everyday stresses disappear. Heading out to your local waterway with friends and family is a great way to relieve stress, sit back, and relax. When we’re near water, our heart and breathing slows, which is a plus for our bodies.
  2. It keeps you active – With so many of us spending most of the day sitting at a desk or in a vehicle commuting to and from work, boating is a great way to get outside and stay active. And you don’t have to be water skiing or wake boarding to stay active. Just getting out there and spending time in and around your boat is a great start to a healthier lifestyle!
  3. It brings you closer to nature – Boating is the perfect way to enjoy the great outdoors and everything Mother Nature has to offer. It allows you to get a unique perspective on local wildlife and see birds and fish and other animals that you may never see back ashore. Plus, there are all sorts of unique little wilderness areas that are only accessible by boat.
  4. It brings you closer to friends and family – Boating and family often go hand-in-hand. Getting out there and cruising the local waterways allows us to reconnect with loved ones and enjoy each other’s company. So, if you’ve been missing a close friend or family member, why not ask them to come out for a ride on the boat?
  5. It puts your heart at ease – To sum it all up, boating puts your heart at ease. Not only does it relieve stress, but for many of us, it puts us in our happy place. If you’re anything like us, there’s no place you’d rather be. Stress and anxiety can have such a drastic effect on heart health, so there’s no doubt that getting out on your boat can help give make you heart healthy.

This February get back out there on your boat! Trust us, your heart will thank you.

Photo by Jude Beck

Tags:  2020  boating safety  winter activity 

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Anytime is a Great Time to Take a Boating Safety Course and Get Your Boating License or Certificate

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Friday, February 7, 2020

Anytime is a Great Time to Take a Boating Safety Course and Get Your Boating License or Certificate

Many states make changes to boating laws and regulations throughout the year, so it is good to get a refresher now and then with a boating safety course. A boating safety course will make sure that you know everything you can about being a safe boater including the legal requirements before inviting friends and family out on your boat.

You should also be aware that many states are now requiring that boaters get their boating license or certificate before operating various types of boats. And the way to get a Boating  License or Certificate is by taking a boating safety course. The state laws may pertain to power boats, personal watercraft like Jet Skis or any other boats with engines. In addition, these laws may impact all boaters or just those of a certain age, so it is important to check the requirements of the state(s) where you will be boating and plan time to get your boating license or certificate, if it is needed.

You can find classroom courses that are offered locally in your area in the evenings or on weekends or you can take a class online from your home or office.  Boating Safety Courses are offered by state boating agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard AuxiliaryAmerica’s Boating Club and many other companies and organizations. There is even an interactive, online course from our friends at iLearntoBoat.com. Regardless of how the boating safety course is presented, the final test for your boating license or certificate will include questions on life jackets, fire safety, anchoring procedures, the Navigation Rules, emergency situations, and state-specific information that boaters should know to be safe on the water in their state. If you boat in multiple states, it may be good to take a course in each of those states to be certified and up to speed on the rules in each state.

As an added incentive to get this training, boating insurance companies frequently offer discounts to boaters who successfully complete an approved boating safety course. Check with your insurance company for a list of boating safety courses or you can visit the U.S. Coast Guard’s website to find a list of approved boating safety courses.

Tags:  2018-19  Americas Boating Club  Education  US Coast Guard Auxiliary  US Power Squadrons 

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Visiting a boating museum can be a fun winter activity

Posted By Gail Kulp, Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Visiting a boating museum can be a fun winter activity

Winter in the northern states can be a tough time of year for boaters. With the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures, it is not ideal to spend time on a boat, but that doesn’t mean that all boating activities have to end. And, even in a warmer weather state, a bad weather day can still ruin plans for a boating trip. On days like that, take a trip to a local boating museum near you!

The Sea Tow Foundation staff had the chance to visit the Finger Lakes Boating Museum this winter. Located in Hammondsport, NY just a couple of hours from Buffalo, Rochester or Syracuse, this museum focuses on the education and preservation of the boating activities and boat building heritage of the Finger Lakes region.

Sea Tow Foundation's Michael Wesolowski and Gail Kulp met with Andrew Tompkins at the Finger Lakes Boating Museum.

The Finger Lakes Boating Museum has over 200 boats on display representing over 40 commercial builders who built boats in the region within the last century. The museum’s campus is the site of the former Taylor Wine Company and includes 19 buildings across 14 acres. While the museum exhibits currently occupy the main building, plans are underway to renovate and move into additional buildings over the coming years to expand the boats on display.

Andrew Tompkins, Executive Director, provided the Sea Tow Foundation with a personal tour and showed off just some of the hundreds of canoes, rowboats, inboards, runabouts and sailboats on display as well as the enormous mural on display downstairs. Andrew noted, “The Finger Lakes Boating Museum sees over 5,000 visitors each year from around the country and we also host a number of school field trips as well.”

So if being on the water is not an option because of the weather, look into visiting a local boating museum like the Sea Tow Foundation staff did this winter. You’re guaranteed to have a good time and you may even learn something!

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Behind the Scenes  Partner Stories  Weather  Winter 

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