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Be Sure to Wear Your Life Jacket This Winter

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, November 2, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Be Sure to Wear Your Life Jacket This Winter

Did you know that your chances of dying from going overboard are five times greater in winter months than in the summer? The Sea Tow Foundation wants to remind boaters to always wear their life jackets, especially once the temperatures begin to drop. A total of 5 northern states have laws requiring life jackets to be worn by boaters during typically cold weather months. This requirement is in response to the number of accidents and deaths that have occurred as a result of cold-water immersion.

“If you were to become immersed in cold water for even a short period of time, manual dexterity will be lost – along with your ability to swim or put on a life jacket – within ten minutes of being in the water,” said Sea Tow Foundation Executive Director, Gail R. Kulp. “Without a life jacket, the cold can lead to drowning long before hypothermia even begins to set in.”

 The five states with cold water life jacket wear policies each have differing requirements:

 Connecticut: Life jackets must be worn by anyone in a manually propelled vessel from October 1 through May 31 (must be a Type I, II, III, V or V-hybrid).

Maine: All boaters canoeing or kayaking on the Saco River between Hiram Dam and the Atlantic Ocean between January 1 and June 1st must be wearing a life jacket.

Massachusetts: Life jackets must be worn from September 15 - May 15 when operating a canoe or kayak.

New York: All owners or operators of a boat less than 21 feet, including rowboats, canoes and kayaks, between November 1st and May 1st, must ensure that all passengers must be wearing a securely-fastened United States Coast Guard-approved wearable personal flotation device of an appropriate size while out on the water.

Pennsylvania: From November 1 to April 30, boaters are required to wear a life jacket while on boats less than 16 feet in length or any canoe or kayak.

Even if your state doesn’t have a cold weather life jacket wear requirement, it is a smart and safe idea to wear a life jacket any time the water temperature drops below 60 degrees. It is imperative that, during cold weather months, boaters not only wear a life jacket, but have one that is USCG-approved and is appropriate for the type of activity that you will be participating in. Life jackets save lives, but only if they are worn.

Tags:  2018-19  Cold Weather  Life Jacket Loaner Program  Life Jacket Wear Policies  States  Winter 

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Five Fall Boating Safety Tips

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, October 22, 2018
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2020

Five Fall Boating Safety Tips

The fall season is already upon us, but that doesn’t mean boating has to come to an end just yet. In fact, some of the best leaf peeping and duck hunting can only be done from the water. Here are a few safety tips for boating on these shorter, cooler autumn days.

  1. Update your charts - Helpful landmarks you’ve relied on all summer to point out shallow sections may look different as the leaves change color and fall. You also may find yourself cruising home in the dark more often, when those landmarks will be harder to spot. Aids to navigation such as channel markers and buoys placed by local authorities may be pulled as early as October in some areas. Make sure that your charts – electronic and physical – are up to date and use them to navigate instead.
  2. Check your lights and flares - Check to see that your boat’s navigation lights are in working order and your emergency flares are not past their expiration date. Carry a couple of waterproof flashlights to help you unload passengers and their gear at the dock or boat ramp after dark, and be sure to stock spare batteries. A flashlight also can be used in an emergency to signal for help.
  3. Carry a VHF radio - During the fall boating months, the waterways are less crowded. While this can be peaceful, it also means that if you run into a problem, you might not see another boater for hours, if at all. A VHF radio can be used to call for help even in spots where your cell phone has no signal. Use Sea Tow’s free Automated Radio Check (ARC) system to ensure your VHF is working properly. To find the ARC channel in your area, visit www.seatow.com/boating-safety/automated-radio-checks.
  4. Dress in layers - As the days get shorter, there can be rapid changes in both air and water temperature from day to evening. Dress in layers that can be easily removed or added when the air warms up or grows chilly. And, make sure that your life jacket can fit over your layers.
  5. Wear a life jacket - In the fall, water temperatures can grow much colder than the air. Boaters who accidentally fall overboard run an increased risk of hypothermia. While children under 13 must wear a life jacket when the boat is underway by law, it’s a good idea for adults to wear them, too and there are 6 states with cold water life jacket wear requirements now. Check with your state boating agency to see if you need to buckle up before boating. You may even want to purchase life jackets with lights attached so rescuers can find you in the water.

Tags:  2018-19  Automated Radio Check  Tips 

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The Most Important Reason to Take an Emergency Beacon When You Boat, Hike, or Paddle

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Thursday, April 5, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Most Important Reason to Take an Emergency Beacon When You Boat, Hike, or Paddle

Please note that our beacon rental program has ended as of January 1, 2020

A big part of outdoor recreational safety, whether in the air, on land or water is being prepared for the “unexpected.”  In particular, it is important that you have the means to request help should an emergency arise.  That’s because, despite what many tend to believe, it is often difficult for rescuers to find someone who is lost and in need of rescue.  An essential element of being able to return home to your loved ones, or receiving prompt medical attention, is to have the right signaling equipment.

One piece of equipment to definitely consider adding to your gear list is an emergency satellite beacon.  This article will offer basic information about it with a focus on land and water use.  Plus, it will underscore the importance that you remember, on your next hiking or water adventure, to take a beacon with you.

What is a Beacon

A beacon is an electronic signaling device that alerts search-and-rescue services in the event of an emergency by transmitting a coded message on the 406 MHz distress frequency via satellite and earth stations to the nearest rescue coordination center.

Types of Beacons

Common emergency rescue beacons transmit at 406 MHz, can be detected by satellite, and are referred to in conversation by their abbreviations: ELTs, EPIRBs, and PLBs. This article will focus primarily on EPIRBs and PLBs.

Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT)

ELTs are for use in an aircraft and can be manually activated by the pilot or automatically activated by a G-switch. ELTs transmit for at least 24-hours and some may also transmit a position within the distress alert. This position may be a one-time input from the aircraft's navigation system or may be periodically updated from a GPS processor internal to the ELT. The one-time position input may not represent the most accurate position of the ELT since it may not be known when that position was last inserted into the message.

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)

EPIRBs are for use in maritime applications and divided into two categories. Category I EPIRBs are activated either manually or automatically. The automatic activation is triggered when the EPIRB is released from its bracket. Category I EPIRBs are housed in a special bracket equipped with a hydrostatic release. This mechanism releases the EPIRB at a water depth of 3-10 feet. The buoyant EPIRB then floats to the surface and begins transmitting. If you own a Category I EPIRB, it's very important that you mount it outside your vessel's cabin where it will be able to "float free" of the sinking vessel.

Category II EPIRBs are manual activation only units. If you own one of these, it should be stored in the most accessible location on board where it can be quickly accessed in an emergency.

406 MHz beacons are digitally coded and transmit distress signals without delay. This means that even a brief inadvertent signal can generate a false alert. To avoid getting a call from the Coast Guard make sure that when you test your EPIRB you follow the manufacturer's recommendations carefully. Initiating a false request for assistance resulting in the launch of Search and Rescue efforts can result in fines of $1,000 or more for each instance.

Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs)

PLBs are portable units that operate much the same way as ELTs and EPIRBs. These beacons are designed to be carried by an individual person instead of on a boat or aircraft. Unlike ELTs and some EPIRBs, they can only be activated manually and operate exclusively on 406 MHz. Like EPIRBs and ELTs, all PLBs also have a built-in, low-power homing beacon that transmits on 121.5 MHz. This allows rescue units to hone in on the distress beacon once the 406 MHz satellite system has provided the necessary position information. Some PLBs also allow GPS units to be integrated into the distress signal. This GPS-encoded position dramatically improves the location accuracy down to the 100-meter level…that’s roughly the size of a football field!

Another benefit of PLBs is that they are very easy to pack and add very little additional weight.  Many hikers even attach them to the shoulder harness on their backpack where they can quickly access them if needed. And boaters attach them to the shoulder of their life jackets for easy and quick access.

In turn, PLBs are not only extremely effective, but they are also very cost efficient. Unlike other types of electronic signaling devices, there are no monthly service fees in addition to the original cost of purchase. Instead, PLBs offer a simple, reliable, and no-nonsense way to request help when you most need it.

All Beacons Need to Be Registered

You must register your beacon after purchase. It is the law and, without registration, Rescue Coordination Centers (RCC) won’t be able to react as quickly … and ultimately this may delay a Search and Rescue (SAR) response should you be in an emergency.

The process is quick, easy, and you can do register online.  If you have a 406 MHz beacon and have not registered it, please do so by contacting the National 406 MHz Registration Database at this link beaconregistration.noaa.gov/RGDB/index.

When to Use a Beacon

When you need it most, search-and-rescue organizations instruct that beacons are satellite signaling devices of last resort, for use when all other means of self-rescue have been exhausted, where the situation is grave with imminent danger and bodily harm or valuable property will occur without assistance. In simpler terms, use the beacon only when absolutely necessary and after trying other communication devices.

Survival Stories

You can find beacon survival stories from air, land, and water on the 406 Survival Club page at acrartex.com/survivors/

Rent a Beacon to Try It Out

Please note that our beacon rental program has ended as of January 1, 2020

The Sea Tow Foundation’s Beacon Rental Program allows you to try a beacon before buying one and use it as a chance to become more familiar with beacon use.

Beacons rent for one week or more: EPIRBs rent for $95 a week including shipping and PLBs rent for $80 a week including shipping. Beacons ship to you from Southold, New York using UPS Ground and willarrive to you a few days before you depart for your boating trip. The box will also include a return shipping label to use on the boxafter your boating trip so that you can send the beacon back to the Sea Tow Foundation. The use of beacons for this program is intended for recreational boating use only and the Sea Tow Foundation suggested that you.plan ahead and reserve your beacon two or more weeks before you need it. .

The Sea Tow Foundation’s Beacon Rental Program was made possible from a generous donation of beacons from ACR Electronics. Funds raised by this program are used to grow all Sea Tow Foundation programs including: Beacon Rental Program, Designated Sober Skipper Campaign, and Life Jacket Loaner Program.

How a Beacon Rescue Works

  1. Distressed aviator, hiker, or mariner activates a beacon (ELT, EPIRB or PLB).
  2. Beacon transmits a 406 MHz emergency message containing your Unique Identifier Number (UIN) to the LEOSAR (polar orbiting) and GEOSAR* (geostationary) satellite system; set up by Sea Tow Foundation for you at time of rental.
  3. The satellites relay the 406 MHz emergency message to a ground station called the Local User Terminal (LUT). The LUT calculates the location of the signal by measuring the Doppler shift caused by the relative movement between the satellite and the beacon and forwards the location to the Mission Control Center (MCC).
  4. The MCC continues to receive information from additional satellite passes and further refines the beacon position (2.3 nm search radius). An alert message is generated that is combined with the registration information from the database and is forwarded to the appropriate Rescue Coordination Center (RCC).
  5. The RCC makes contact with the persons listed in the database to verify the existence of an emergency and gathers additional information about the beacon users. The RCC will dispatch the closest, capable Search and Rescue (SAR) forces. Local SAR forces launch a rescue mission and use the 121.5 MHz homing signal to pinpoint the beacon.

On average, worldwide, this notification (steps 2 through 5) take up to one hour for non-GPS beacons. Beacons rented from Sea Tow Foundation made by ACR Electronics are GPS self-locating beacons that provide GPS position data in their first transmissions, the search radius is reduced to .05 nm (100 m) and the notification can take as little as three minutes. Data provided by Cospas-Sarsat.

COSPAS-SARSAT is an international, humanitarian satellite-based search and rescue system that has helped save over 20,000 lives worldwide since its inception in 1982.

SARSAT is an acronym for Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking. COSPAS is an acronym for the Russian words "Cosmicheskaya Sistyema Poiska Avariynich Sudov," which mean "Space System for the Search of Vessels in Distress," indicative of the maritime origins of this distress alerting system.

The system, which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, detects and locates transmissions from emergency beacons carried by ships, aircraft, and individuals. Use of the COSPAS-SARSAT system is FREE to the beacon operator.

Sponsored by Canada, France, Russia, and the United States, the system aims to reduce the time required to alert rescue authorities whenever a distress situation occurs. The rapid detection and location of a downed aircraft, a ship, or an individual in distress are of paramount importance to survivors and to rescue personnel.

The COSPAS-SARSAT system consists of emergency radio beacons (distress beacons), equipment on satellites in low-Earth polar or in geosynchronous orbits, ground receiving stations also called Local User Terminals (LUTs), Mission Control Centers (MCCs), and Rescue Coordination Centers (RCCs).

The Most Important Reason to Remember an Emergency Beacon – It Can Save Your Life!

Sea Tow Foundation

With a focus on safe boating practices that result in fun on the water, the Sea Tow Foundation – a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization – was established in 2007 by Sea Tow Founder Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer. After his passing in 2015, Captain Joe’s legacy continues as the Foundation brings attention to the number of preventable boating-related accidents, injuries, and deaths, and directly addresses prevention methods through education and awareness. More than 400 life jacket loaner stands are now available across the United States and the Foundation’s Designated Sober Skipper program continues to grow. For more information, please visit BoatingSafety.com.

True North Wilderness Survival School

True North Wilderness Survival School, LLC provides its clients with the skills and knowledge to confidently deal with emergencies in remote and austere environments thereby improving their ability to explore their world, help others, and be more effective leaders. True North works with a diverse mix of clients, including individuals, organizations, educational institutions, and professional responders, such as EMS, search-and-rescue, and law enforcement. For more information, please visit ExploreTrueNorth.com.

ACR Electronics, Inc.

ACR Electronics, Inc., designs and manufactures a complete line of safety and survival products for the brands ACR, Ocean Signal, ARTEX and NAL Research. Available products include Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs), Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs), ARTEX Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs), Search and Rescue Transponders (SARTs), Strobe Lights, Life Jacket Lights, Boat Search Lights, and other associated safety accessories. ACR’s facility Quality Management System (QMS) is certified by TUV USA and is certified in accordance with AS9100C / ISO 9001:2008 standards. Recognized as a world leader in safety and survival technologies for over 60 years, ACR has provided life-saving equipment to the marine, outdoor, aviation industries as well as to various government agencies worldwide. For more information, please visit ACRARTEX.com.

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Tags:  2018-19  ACR Electronics  Emergency Beacon  EPIRB  PLB 

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Volunteers

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Sunday, August 21, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Volunteers

We are asking for your help to promote boating safety at boat shows and events; and to help us care for our life jacket loaner stations located in more than 600 communities across 46 states and territories. You can help us one time or on a regular basis. To find available opportunities and sign up, see our calendar.

At boat shows, you can help us fit children with loaner life jackets before they walk on the docks with their families to see the boats then collect jackets when the children return. If you are near the Norwalk Boat Show in Connecticut, the Miami International Boat Show, or Tampa Boat Show in Florida, we can always use your help. Volunteers receive a free pass to the show on the day of their service to explore the show after helping us.

And if you need a letter of service hours, just let us know.

Thank you for your consideration and for more information please call us at 888-276-7691 or email us info@boatingsafety.com.

 

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Tags:  2016-17  Boat Shows  Events  Volunteers 

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Life Jacket Loaner Stands Save Lives and Days On The Water

Posted By Gail Kulp, Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2020

Life Jacket Loaner Stands Save Lives and Days On The Water

Nothing can be more frustrating than getting to the boat launch/ramp and realizing that you left the life jackets at home.

Forgetting your Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) means a morning can be ruined, the bite could be missed, or if you take a chance and go out without them, a life could be lost.

Boaters along Florida’s Gulf Coast who forget their life jackets can now rest assured. A valuable service that provides life jackets free of charge is still available and getting better.

Sea Tow Charlotte Harbor and the Peace River Sail & Power Squadron have partnered to manage 11 life jacket loaner stands located in Charlotte Harbor, Punta Gorda, and Placida, ensuring that the PFDs are maintained, clean and ready to use when needed.

“The partnership will not only increase maintenance of these life jacket loaner stands, but help to promote this valuable service to the public so more people can stay safe on the water,” said District 22's District Lieutenant Commander Harold Anderson, AP of the Peace River Sail & Power Squadron.

According to Captain Mike DeGenaro, owner of Sea Tow Charlotte Harbor, which provides on-the-water services to boaters in need, the life jacket loaner stands are located in the following areas:

 

Port Charlotte:

• El Jobean Ramp
• Port Charlotte Beach
• Spring Lake Boat Ramp

 

Punta Gorda:

• Burnt Store Boat Ramp
• Burnt Store Cradle Launch
• Laishley Marina
• Fisherman’s Village
• Harbor Heights Boat Ramp
• Ponce Park

 

Placida:

• Gasparilla Marina
• Placida Boat Ramp

 

“We can’t be everywhere, but we are doing our best to provide these stands in busy boating areas where we know that people could have a need and benefit from them,” DeGenaro said.

Management of the life jacket stands includes: counting use, monitoring for loss, repairs, promoting the service, and taking regular inventory.

 

Sea Tow Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Program

The Sea Tow Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to promote safe boating practices, has distributed more than 35,000 life jackets to boaters across the country since 2008 with the help of volunteers including: Sea Tow Captains, US Power Squadrons, various organizations, and boating agencies throughout the United States and territories. These stands 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 done so that they are available for others to use. These life jackets are purchased through a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, as administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. They are distributed to volunteer hosts who make them available to boaters free of charge.

 

The Life Jacket Loaner program has three components:
1) Life Jacket Drive, which hosts ask their community to donate new and gently used jackets.
2) Life Jacket Grant, which offers boating agencies and nonprofit organization the opportunity to receive life jackets and stands at no charge.
3) Life Jacket Partnership, which offers life jackets and stand for a fee along with a manual and technical support.

 

Peace River Sail & Power Squadron

The Peace River Sail & Power Squadron is dedicated to teaching the proper and safe way to operate a sail or power boat. Located in Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte area of Florida, the unit is a division of The United States Power Squadrons®, the world’s largest recreational boating organization with more than 35,000 members.
For more than 100 years, the Power Squadron has worked to make the water a safer place through boating education, civic service and fellowship. It also offers ways to improve your boating skills and knowledge online, in the classroom with certified instructors, or outdoors with hands-on training.

Tags:  2015-16Life Jacket Loaner Program  Americas Boating Club  Sea Tow Charlotte Harbor  US Power Squadrons 

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US Coast Guard Alert: Inspect Your Life Jackets!

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2020

US Coast Guard Alert: Inspect Your Life Jackets!

Stem to Stern, Foam to Dust, Inspecting Your Life Jackets is a Must!

Safety Alert 07-16. This US Coast Guard Safety Alert reminds all vessel operators to routinely inspect their life jackets to ensure they are suitable for service. Recently Coast Guard inspectors in Key West, Florida discovered two vessels that had over 60 life jackets that were required to be removed and destroyed. It was discovered that the unicellular foam buoyant material within the nylon outer shell had degraded significantly over time, broke apart, crumbled and in some instances was reduced to dust. The life jackets were properly stored, kept dry, and not under direct sunlight; however, the location was very hot at times.

These particular life jackets were the Type 1, 160RT model distributed by “The Safeguard Corporation” of Covington, Kentucky. They were manufactured in China and approximately nine years old. The distributor is no longer in business. Over the years, the Coast Guard has distributed a number of other safety alerts related to life jackets and personal flotation devices (PFDs). The archive of alerts can be accessed at the following site:
http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg545/alerts/96_14SA.pdf. See PDF page numbers 27, 72, 138, 145, 158 and 165.

As a result of this recent discovery the Coast Guard strongly recommends that vessel owners and operators inspect their Type 1 unicellular plastic foam life jackets for potential indications of failure or degradation, specifically:

  • Compression: The life jacket may be compressed from many years of stowage.
  • Loss of resiliency: The life jacket is excessively hard, stiff or its foam is brittle. Normally after compressing the lifejacket to about half its initial thickness, the foam should expand to its original dimension in a short period of time.
  • Shrinkage: A physical reduction in size may be indicated by “wrinkling” of the coating on vinyl dipped type or by a loose fitting shell on a fabric-covered life jacket.
  • Manufacturer: While the potential for problems applies to all older PFDs, those manufactured by “The Safeguard Corporation” should be closely examined.

This Safety Alert was developed by the Coast Guard Headquarters Office of Investigations and Casualty Analysis in conjunction with the Inspections Division of Coast Guard Sector Key West. Any questions or comments should be sent to send to: HQS-PF-fldr-CG-INV@uscg.mil.

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Tags:  2015-16  Life Jacket  US Coast Guard Safety Alerts 

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10 Tips for Paddle Board, Canoe, and Kayak Fun!

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Monday, July 11, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2020

10 Tips for Paddle Board, Canoe, and Kayak Fun!

Paddle boards, canoes, and kayaks are vessels that offer people a range of calm to exhilarating fun on the water; are relatively easy to use; easy to move around; and you can launch them from shore.

Join in on the fun! Whether you paddle fast or paddle slow, paddle sports are growing according to the "2016 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report" from the Outdoor Foundation who say, nearly half of all Americans - 48.4% - participated in at least one outdoor activity in 2015. That equates to 142.4 million participants, who went on a collective 11.7 billion outdoor outings. While the actual number of outdoor participants increased by one million over the one-year period, the overall participation rate remained the same due to population increase.

With all that fun on the water comes a bit of safety to consider; according to the American Canoe Association, top causes of fatalities for paddle sports are falling overboard, capsizing, and drowning.

Help keep paddling both fun + safe and refer to these to these safety tips when planning your next paddling adventure:

 

1. Wear A Life Jacket

Be ready to capsize and swim sometimes when paddling; and for cold water immersion as cold water can lower core body temperature leading to inability to move, hypothermia, and even drowning. Wearing a life jacket can prevent drowning. According to 2015 US Coast Guard Statistics on recreational boating, “Where cause of death was known, 76% of fatal boating accidents victims drowned. Of those drowning victims with reported life jacket usage, 85% were not wearing a life jacket.” In 2008, the U.S. Coast Guard determined that paddle boards are considered to be a vessel when used outside of a swimming, surfing, or a bathing area. Federal law requires children under 12 to wear a life Jacket aboard a vessel. Click here for more information.

2. Carry A Sound Producing Device

If in trouble, you can blow a US Coast Guard approved whistle longer than you can yell for help.

3. File A Float Plan

If you are going paddling for just a few hours, let someone know where you expect to be and when you expect to return. If you plan a longer adventure, leave a copy of a written float plan with your marina, yacht club, or friend. A float plan includes a description of your vessel, who is on board, a description of the safety equipment you are carrying, where you expect to be, and when you expect to be there. Instruct the person holding the float plan to notify the Coast Guard or other appropriate agency if you do not return within a reasonable time after your scheduled arrival (taking into account weather, etc.). When you arrive at your destination, or if your plans change, notify the person holding your float plan to avoid unnecessary worry and possible waste of search and rescue resources. Click here for more information.

4. Know Your Limits

Can you recognize water, wind, weather conditions, or when you are tired? Are you dressed correctly for your paddle adventure? Make good choices before venturing out and paddle according to your own limits.

5. Get Education

Boating education benefits skippers, passengers, and vessels alike, whatever your age. Knowledge about boating and paddle safety can reduce accidents, fatalities, and property damage. Check out this list of in-person and online sources of education today! Click here for more information.

6. Assess Conditions Continuously for Vessel Traffic, Water, and Weather

Vessel traffic, operator skill, sun, tides, waves, wind, and temperatures can be more of a factor than one might think. Operate your vessel in a safe and responsible manner. Keep out of the way of motorboats; group paddlers best travel behind one another rather than abreast and possibly blocking the waterway. 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 and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Forecasts page.

7. Vessel Safety Check

A vessel safety check includes deck, hull, oar, paddle condition, and many of the items on this safety tips list; in addition to information about the owner or operator; mandatory requirements for boating safety equipment; equipment recommended when the boat is used in open water; and other recommendations.

8. Leash for Paddle Board

For paddle boards there are different kinds of leashes for different water venues; additionally, a leash can keep your paddle board tethered to you and blowing away in the wind. Check out the video from the American Canoe Association. Click this link for more information.

9. Avoid Dehydration

By the time you feel thirsty the dehydration process is already underway. Bring water and snacks. According to survivor instructor Cody Lundin, a person at rest needs about 6 cups of water daily while that same person can lose up to 16 cups (a gallon) in just one hour of heavy sweating!

10. Use Your Water Voice

Sound carries across the water so when talking with other members of your group be mindful of the volume of your voice.

 

Read this blog for more information from Sea Tow Foundation and paddle fun + safe this season!

Tags:  2015-16  American Canoe Association  Canoe  Kayak  Life Jacket  Life Jacket Program  Outdoor Foundation  Paddle Board  Paddle Sports 

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A Boater's Guide to the Federal Requirements for Recreational Boats

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Friday, February 26, 2016
Updated: Thursday, February 27, 2020

A Boater's Guide to the Federal Requirements for Recreational Boats

As boaters, we are all expected to carry required safety equipment and ensure that our vessel is compliant with federal and state regulations. To help us do this, the US Coast Guard has produced a quick reference called, “A Boater's Guide to the Federal Requirements for Recreational Boats”. You can download this guide by clicking the link below.

The guide contains information about federal laws and equipment carriage requirements for recreational vessels of the United States. It is important to understand that federal equipment requirements are minimum requirements and do not guarantee the safety of your vessel or its passengers. The guide includes recommendations for additional safety equipment you may wish to have on board. In addition to the requirements stated in this pamphlet, we as boaters, may be required to comply with additional regulations and/or laws specific to the state in which the vessel is registered or operated. To ensure compliance with state boating laws, you should contact the appropriate boating agency in your area. And remember, a vessel in compliance with the laws in one state may not meet the requirements of another state where the vessel is being operated.

Click here to download A Boater's Guide to the Federal Requirements for Recreational Boats

Tags:  Equipment  Federal Requirements  Life Jackets 

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

Posted By Gail Kulp, Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 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 on board. 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:  2016-17  Fire  Fire Extinguisher  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips 

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Tow Bee Boating Safety Tip: Keep Life Jackets on Hand!

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

2016-02-09 Tow Bee Boating Safety Tip: Keep Life Jackets on Hand!

No matter what body of water you call home, it’s required by law to have enough life jackets on-board for each of your boat’s passengers. And, they need to be the correct size for each passenger. This means that if you have children on board, the orange horse-collar life jackets stored under your seats won’t work. First of all, you’ll need to make sure to have child-size life jackets in the correct size for each child. Secondly, you’ll also need to make sure any children under the age of 13 wear their life jackets at all times while underway as this is required by the U.S. Coast Guard. Lastly, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the adults to put on their life jackets, too. Comfortable options including inflatable life jackets are now available and will keep the day on the water safe. After all, 87% of people who drown every year were within reach of a life jacket, but they didn’t have time to put it on.

So, if you’re heading out with new guests, make sure you have properly-fitting life jackets for everyone. If you don’t have enough life jackets or need a specific size to fit a new guest, be sure to stop by one of our many Life Jacket Loaner Stations located at boat ramps, fuel docks and marinas all over the country and borrow one for the day at no charge!
Click here for more Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips!

Tags:  Life Jacket  Life Jacket Loaner Program  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips 

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