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Keep your Passengers Safe This Summer by Designating a Sober Skipper

Posted By Gail Kulp, Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2020

Keep your Passengers Safe This Summer by Designating a Sober Skipper

Summer days are in full swing and we all want a great day on the water. On a boat, wind, vibration, noise, and the sun can impair balance, coordination, concentration, and these effects are only intensified when drinking alcohol.

Today, alcohol is the leading cause of fatal boating accidents, so designate a Sober Skipper before leaving the dock. If you are the skipper, stay alert and sober. Don’t drink alcohol. Do it for your family, your friends, your passengers and everyone else on the water. Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is 100 percent preventable.

That’s why we created the Sober Skipper program in 2015 – to provide boaters with a positive and proactive approach to preventing BUI accidents and fatalities. The program asks boaters to take the pledge to be or designate a sober skipper before every boating trip. The pledge notes that the boater operator will avoid alcohol and drug use when in charge of navigating the boat and will be in charge of the boat and all of its passengers to ensure that everyone arrives safely back on the dock at the end of the day.

Our friends at America’s Boating Club squadrons around the country have joined us in the effort to promote the Sober Skipper program. When squadrons conduct vessel safety checks, they’ll ask boaters to sign up to take the pledge be a sober skipper and they often hand out Sober Skipper wristbands as reminders.

“We’d like to extend a special thanks to the members of America’s Boating Club who have shown their commitment to keeping boaters safe and sober through their vessel safety checks,” said Gail R. Kulp, the Foundation’s executive director. “After all, as boaters, when our hands are on the helm, lives are in our hands and it is up to us to keep everyone safe on the water.”

Get on board and take the pledge today to be responsible for yourself, your vessel, and your passengers. By designating a Sober Skipper, you’re keeping yourself and your loved ones safe, which leads to more beautiful summer days together out on the water. Find out more at www.soberskipper.com.

Tags:  2018-19  Americas Boating Club  Sober Skipper  US Coast Guard  US Power Squadrons 

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Sober Skipper Advisory Council undertakes new safety, award initiatives

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Saturday, May 25, 2019
Updated: Thursday, March 5, 2020

Sober Skipper Advisory Council undertakes new safety, award initiatives

 
The Sea Tow Foundation’s recently appointed North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council held its first meeting in early May to finalize its mission and to establish short-term priorities.
 
According to Sea Tow Foundation Executive Director Gail Kulp, the purpose and mission of the new council has been reviewed and adopted by its executive task force and the 13 key stakeholder members representing the recreational marine industry.
 
“We created this new organization to help bridge the gap between the non-profit recreational boating safety community and the for-profit industry,” said Kulp. ”Our council represents the for-profit segment of the recreational boating industry and our desire is to discuss and address general boating safety issues in addition to our Sea Tow Foundation’s signature programs including the Life Jacket Loaner Program and the Sober Skipper Program. By collaborating with council members, we hope to work together to help strengthen overall industry messaging, awareness and adoption of boating safety initiatives.”    
 
To that effect, top on the agenda was a council-wide introduction to National Safe Boating Week May 18-25. While many were well aware of the annual push and promotion for boating safety messaging prior to the busy Memorial Day weekend, Sea Tow Foundation encouraged active support and engagement through individual and corporate social media initiatives. In addition, Sea Tow Foundation provided a marketing support toolkit for council member to access including relevant content and imagery reflecting boating safety themes.
 
“The more the recreational boating industry gets on board promoting boating safety, the stronger and more impactful the message will be to general boating public,” said Kulp. “We’ve also invited our council members to share their own company boating safety initiatives and have been very impressed by the good work many of these organizations have already initiated.”
 
Besides National Safe Boating Week, the council discussed and is underway in the development of a new national boating safety awards program directed to the for-profit segment of the marketplace.
 
“While there are already boating safety award programs in place in several pockets of the industry, many are sponsored by or recognize the great work of the not-for-profit community and governmental/non-governmental boating agencies,” said Kulp. “Because our effort is targeting the for-profit sector, our awards program will pay tribute to the outstanding work of companies, organizations and individuals within the recreational for-profit boating space.”
 
The council has formed subcommittees and is currently working to further develop award program plans, parameters, categories and criteria for judging, with the goal to announce and launch the initiative later this year.
 
“Our executive task force is very enthusiastic by the positive energy and high level of support for boating safety among our council members,” said Kulp. “We look forward to further building upon a strong foundation of boating safety and helping to expand and enhance recreational boating safety efforts moving forward.”

Tags:  Boating Industry  NASSAC  Sober Skipper 

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Free Automated Radio Checks are Available Year Round

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, May 17, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Free Automated Radio Checks are Available Year Round

Your VHF radio is your go-to communication device on the water, so you’ll want to make sure it’s working properly before you leave the dock. As you get ready for boating season during this year’s National Safe Boating Week, consider taking advantage of Sea Tow’s free Automated Radio Check Service. You can use it to check your radio year-round!

Sea Tow provides this free service to boating communities throughout the nation. In fact, it’s available not only to Sea Tow members, but to all boaters as a public service. It helps prevent boaters from using VHF Channel 16 for radio checks, as this is the international channel designed for urgent issues and emergencies.

Instead, by providing non-urgent channels for automated checks, boaters can ensure their radios are functioning properly without clogging Channel 16.

It’s simple to ensure your radio is functioning properly through an automated check. Just follow these three steps:

  1. Turn your radio to the appropriate channel based on your community: 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, or 84.
  2. Conduct a radio check as normal.
  3. When you release the mic, the system will replay your transmission back to let you hear how you sound.

And that’s it! To find out which channel applies to your community, check out our list here.

We hope you’ll use the Sea Tow Automated Radio Check Service all year long before every boating trip. Our goal is to ensure boaters are equipped with an effective communication channel while they’re out on the water. After all, you never know when you’ll lose signal on your cell phone. Your radio is always going to be the trustworthy option and is designed specifically for communication out on the water.

In addition, we’d like to extend a special thanks to our friends at Shakespeare Marine, who help make Sea Tow’s Automated Radio Check Service possible. We’re sure you already know Shakespeare as a leader for all things related to marine antennae, and we’re thankful for their commitment to help fund and support this important public service.

 

Tags:  2018-19  Automated Radio Check  Boating Safety  Education  National Safe Boating Week  Sea Tow  Sea Tow Services International  Tow Bee 

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National Safe Boating Week 2019- Wear your Life Jacket to Work Day

Posted By Gail Kulp, Thursday, May 16, 2019
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2020

National Safe Boating Week 2019- Wear your Life Jacket to Work Day

Today, boaters all around the country are putting on their trusty life jackets and heading into work to help promote boating and life jacket safety.

So, grab your favorite life jacket and help kick off another National Safe Boating Week and encourage your co-workers to do the same! You can even help spread the message of fun and safe boating by bringing in extra life jackets for your co-workers who may not be avid boaters themselves. Snap some pics and share them on social media using the hashtags #LifeJacket2Work19 #BoatingSafety #BoatingSafetyWeek #VestFriends #NSBW19

At the Sea Tow Foundation, we want each and every trip out on the water to be as fun and safe as possible. Help us make this National Safe Boating Week the best one ever and Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day!

Tags:  2018-19  National Safe Boating Week  Tips  Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day 

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Tips for Cleaning Life Jackets

Posted By Gail Kulp, Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Updated: Monday, May 18, 2020

Tips for Cleaning Life Jackets

Spring is a great time to clean your life jackets before getting ready to use them. Sometimes life jackets get put away for the winter and haven’t had a chance to dry out completely which can cause mold or mildew to grow. And southern locations where it is hot and humid throughout most of the year may find life jackets with spots on them. While this doesn’t look very pretty, it does not mean that the life jacket needs to be thrown away. They just need a chance to be cleaned and dried completely before use.

The following tips from our friends at Onyx Outdoor can be used to clean a life jacket of mold or mildew so that it can be safely used again. Just make sure you have a couple of days of dry weather in your forecast before starting.

  1. Use water and mild soap along with a soft brush or clean cloth to scrub the areas where the stains are located.
  2. Rinse with clean water.
  3. If you still notice stains, you may need to repeat the process a few times.
  4. When the life jacket is completely clean, hang it up to dry out of direct sunlight and do not put it back in use or into a storage container until it is completely dry.

Update added May 18, 2020

The following guidelines are provided by the Life Jacket Association on how to properly disinfect life jackets from the COVID-19 Virus.

1.      Use a 60-90% alcohol spray solution and spray the life jacket including the buckles, straps and zippers.

2.      While wearing gloves, hand wash the life jackets with hot water and mild soap. Rinse with clean water.

3.      Do not use bleach or put life jackets in a washing machine.

4.      Allow life jackets to dry completely for 72 hours (3 days) before reusing. Spreading them out in the sunshine and fresh air is the best option to dry them out completely.

Tags:  2018-19  Clean Life Jackets  Cleaning life jackets  Disinfecting life jackets  Education  Life Jacket Drive  Life Jacket Loaner Partnership  Mildew  Mold  Sea Tow 

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Sea Tow Foundation names North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Monday, April 8, 2019
Updated: Thursday, March 5, 2020

Sea Tow Foundation names North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council

 
The Sea Tow Foundation has organized a North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council to collaborate on current and future boating safety messaging, as well as future boating safety messages and initiatives primarily involving its popular Sober Skipper campaign.
 
Launched in 2015 through a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund, as administered by the U.S. Coast Guard, the program encourages boaters to be sober or to designate a sober skipper.
 
It now has partnerships with more than 130 organizations in 32 states.
 
"The Sea Tow Foundation is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between the non-profit recreational boating safety community and the for-profit boating industry with the launch of the Sober Skipper Advisory Council,” said Executive Director Gail R. Kulp in a statement. “The highly qualified group of individuals that were nominated and subsequently appointed to serve on this inaugural council bring extremely valuable insight and unique perspectives which will help us to strengthen industry messaging, awareness and adoption of boating safety initiatives.”
 
 
Members of the inaugural Sea Tow Foundation North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council include: David Connolly, Partner, TH Connolly & Sons Inc.; David Dickerson, VP State Government Relations, NMMA; Jim Emmons, Non-Profit Outreach Grants Director, Water Sports Foundation, Inc.; Kevin Falvey, Editorial Director, Boating Magazine/Bonnier; Mike Hankins, Operations Director, Crevalle Boats; Will Higgins, Public Policy Manager, MRAA; John Jost, Director of Marine Solutions, Ken Cook Co.; Captain Keith Lake, Delivery Captain, MarineMax; Dave Marlow, Director, Product Integrity/Government Affairs, Brunswick Corporation; Captain Frank Stoeber, Team Development Manager, Regal Boats; Nic Thomas, Corporate Director of Dock Operations, Freedom Boat Club; Stephanie Vatalaro, Senior VP Marketing & Communications, RBFF; and Annamarie Worrell, Boat Club & Marketing Manager, Emerald Coast Marine Group.
 
The group’s executive committee includes Gail R. Kulp, Sea Tow Foundation Executive Director; Michael Wesolowski, Sea Tow Foundation Director of External Relations; Kristen Frohnhoefer, Sea Tow Foundation Board President; and Wanda Kenton Smith, President, Kenton Smith Marketing.
 
“Our executive committee was extremely pleased by the high level of interest and the positive response when we announced plans a few months ago to establish this council,” said Kulp. “While our new council membership represents broad segments of the boating industry, everyone involved shares a strong passion for and commitment to boating safety. Our executive committee is very excited to get underway and to collaborate with these industry stakeholders in this important effort.” 
 

Tags:  NASSAC  Sober Skipper  Trade Only Today 

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Sea Tow Foundation appoints 13 members to serve on inaugural North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Thursday, April 4, 2019
Updated: Thursday, March 5, 2020

Sea Tow Foundation appoints 13 members to serve on inaugural North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council

 
 
The Sea Tow Foundation selected 13 marine industry stakeholders to serve on its newly launched North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council, with the goal to collaborate on current and future boating safety messages including its popular Sober Skipper campaign.
 
"The Sea Tow Foundation is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between the non-profit recreational boating safety community and the for-profit boating industry with the launch of the Sober Skipper Advisory Council,” said Executive Director Gail R. Kulp. “The highly qualified group of individuals that were nominated and subsequently appointed to serve on this inaugural council bring extremely valuable insight and unique perspectives which will help us to strengthen industry messaging, awareness and adoption of boating safety initiatives.”
 
Members of the inaugural Sea Tow Foundation North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council will serve a two-year term. Appointees in alphabetical order include:
• David Connolly, Partner, TH Connolly & Sons Inc.
• David Dickerson, VP State Government Relations, NMMA
• Jim Emmons, Non-Profit Outreach Grants Director, Water Sports Foundation, Inc.
• Kevin Falvey, Editorial Director, Boating Magazine/Bonnier
• Mike Hankins, Operations Director, Crevalle Boats
• Will Higgins, Public Policy Manager, MRAA
• John Jost, Director of Marine Solutions, Ken Cook Co.
• Captain Keith Lake, Delivery Captain, MarineMax
• Dave Marlow, Director, Product Integrity/Government Affairs, Brunswick Corporation
• Captain Frank Stoeber, Team Development Manager, Regal Boats
• Nic Thomas, Corporate Director of Dock Operations, Freedom Boat Club
• Stephanie Vatalaro, Senior VP Marketing & Communications, RBFF
• Annamarie Worrell, Boat Club & Marketing Manager, Emerald Coast Marine Group

In addition, an executive committee of four will direct and facilitate advisory council efforts including Gail R. Kulp, Sea Tow Foundation Executive Director; Michael Wesolowski. Sea Tow Foundation Director of External Relations; Kristen Frohnhoefer, Sea Tow Foundation Board President; and Wanda Kenton Smith, President, Kenton Smith Marketing.

“Our executive committee was extremely pleased by the high level of interest and the positive response when we announced plans a few months ago to establish this council and extended the nationwide call for nominations,” said Kulp. “While our new council membership represents broad segments of the boating industry, everyone involved shares a strong passion for and commitment to boating safety. Our executive committee is very excited to get underway and to collaborate with these industry stakeholders in this important effort.”
 

Tags:  Boating Industry  Brunswick  Crevalle Boats  Emerald Coast Marine Group  Freedom Boat Club  Ken Cook  Kenton Smith Marketing  MarineMax  MRAA  NASSAC  RBFF  Regal Boats  Sea Tow  Sober Skipper  TH Connolly & Sons 

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4 Spring Boating Safety Tips from a Sea Tow Captain

Posted By Gail Kulp, Sunday, March 17, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2020

4 Spring Boating Safety Tips from a Sea Tow Captain

With boating season upon us, it’s important to review safety standards before your maiden voyage of the year. The Sea Tow Foundation sat down with Capt. Mike DeGenaro of Sea Tow Charlotte Harbor to learn some tips to help prepare boaters for the water this spring.

“As spring fever sets in, we have a lot of boaters heading out on the water. For some, it’s been over a year since their last cruise and others have been boating on lakes and smaller bodies of water out of state,” said Capt. Mike. “It’s important to make sure that they know a few safety tips to guarantee they have a much better boating experience, no matter where they splash.”

  1. Always check the weather before heading out on the water. With the touch of a button, a marine forecast can be read on a smartphone. It’s important to realize the weather can easily change in a short amount of time. “This is even more serious when you’re in a small boat,” Capt. Mike cautioned. “Small boats are easily tossed around in wind and waves and can be easily swamped. When checking the forecast, look to see if a wind or small craft advisory is posted for the afternoon and plan your boating trip accordingly.”
  1. Have a way to call for help. “Cell phones may work well on land but should not be relied on out on the water where signals can be weak or non-existent,” Capt. Mike said. “VHF radios are the best option for a boater to call for help because they work even after getting wet and rescuers can put out a call to other boaters in your area to get you help even faster.”
  1. Know the area where you are boating and know how to communicate your location. “Telling a rescuer that you can see the blinking lights of a radio tower doesn’t help them find you when there are several identical towers in the same area that can all be seen for miles in any direction,” Capt. Mike noted. “What does help is knowing which boat ramp you left from, where you were heading and which marina you recently passed. This information will help rescuers find you.” A bonus is knowing how to read your instruments to give your exact latitude and longitude. This gives a precise location to rescuers and will save a lot of time, especially in a medical emergency.
  1. Always carry a life jacket, an anchor and signal lights. Even if you don’t plan to be boating after dark, you always need to be prepared with lights and signals and your life jacket should be on as soon as you notice trouble. “Don’t let your boat drift into shallow water or be pulled out to sea by the tide,” said Capt. Mike. “Put on your life jacket, set your anchor down and use your lights to signal for help so that rescuers can find you.”

Boaters uses the Sea Tow app to determine their position.

With a few simple precautions, you can enjoy a wonderful day of boating. Knowing you have a local Sea Tow Captain standing-by also gives you added Peace of Mind on the Water ™. Following these four tips and knowing basic boating safety will ensure a proper reaction in the event a situation that requires a call for help arises.

 

 

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Tags:  2018-19  Education  LIfe Jacket  Sea Tow Charlotte Harbor  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips  VHF Radio  Weather 

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Tips for Towing a Boat with an RV

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, January 25, 2019
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2020

Tips for Towing a Boat with an RV

More people than ever are towing boat trailers behind their RVs (Recreational Vehicles) and travel trailers. However, towing a boat from the back of an RV generally is more complicated than towing behind a car, SUV or pickup. In the towing world, a Class-A motorhome towing a boat trailer would be known as a double-tow; while towing a boat trailer with a truck towing a fifth-wheel is known as a triple-tow.

Overall, a double-tow setup is easier to operate than a triple-tow. According to Brett Becker, the publisher of the Online Towing Guide, a triple-tow configuration is a serious undertaking.

“If somebody wants to take on triple-towing, I suggest over-engineering everything and siding with caution at every step,” Becker explained. “Two trailers and a tow vehicle is a lot of mass and energy. Take it seriously and do it properly, or don’t do it at all.”

The rules and regulations for double- and triple-towing vary by state and are constantly changing. Before towing, RV’ers should check the Department of Motor Vehicles website for each state they will be passing through for the latest regulations.

Here are a few more tips for towing a boat from an RV offered by Sea Tow Services International, the nation’s leading provider of on-water assistance.

 

Verify tow capacity – Make sure that your RV has enough towing capacity to pull your boat and that your hitch can take the load, especially if you need to use a hitch extender. Also be sure to grease the trailer bearings thoroughly. You won’t know if they’re overheating, because you can’t see them.

Be sure you are insured – Make sure your policy covers you for double and triple tows! In addition to having good collision insurance, it makes sense to insure yourself for liability situations, as well. If, for whatever reason, your boat comes uncoupled and takes out three other cars, you want to have the coverage you need.

Inspect your brakes and leave braking room –Ensure the brakes are working on each trailer being towed. This is especially true for a triple-tow situation. Panic-stopping with two trailers in tow does not work well. If you follow too closely and have to jump on the brakes to keep from hitting something in front of you, odds are good your trailers aren’t going to stay in a straight line. Lastly, confirm your trailer lights work and are visible to those around and behind you.

Make wide turns –Ensure there’s enough clearance between your boat and your RV when you turn tightly. In tight turns, the corners of the boat may rub against the corners of your RV, which is bad all around, so make turns as wide as road conditions permit.

See behind you –Find a way to be able to watch your boat under tow, either directly via a wireless web cam, or virtually via wireless tire pressure sensors, or both. If you can’t see the rig you’re towing, it’s imperative to put pressure and temperature sensors on the trailer tires, or you won’t know that your trailer is dragging down the road on a rim instead of an inflated tire.

Practice at the boat ramp –You can’t see behind as well from an RV. And, you don’t want it to wind up in the water. Your best bet is to find a good local freshwater launch ramp and practice as many times as it takes to figure out a routine that works for you and your rig. When you are backing up, go slowly, and station somebody outside the RV to watch and shout in case of trouble. Keep your windows down and your sound system off so you can hear.

Make frequent inspections – Always perform a complete walk-around inspection of your RV, boat and trailer before you pull onto the road. Then, stop at the first rest area and do another walk-around to find and fix problems, especially with tires, hitches, and boat covers. Keep up the inspections throughout the trip and you will prevent any problems before they start.

The Sea Tow Foundation also reminds boaters to take a boating safety class to learn more tips like these. This article was originally published on the Sea Tow Blog and has been reprinted here with permission.  For more information on Sea Tow or to subscribe to their blog, please visit them at www.seatow.com.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  2018-19  RV  Tips  Towing a Boat  Trailer 

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How to Avoid Common Boating Mistakes

Posted By Gail Kulp, Sunday, January 6, 2019
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2020

How to Avoid Common Boating Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, even the most seasoned boaters. They don't have to be the end to a great day on the water. With these tips from the Sea Tow® captains, you can be back on the water in no time!

Shifter in Neutral?
Sea Tow Captains ask the operator of a stalled boat a very simple question: Is the boat’s engine in neutral when they try to start it? “It can be something as simple as the boat being in gear or the safety lanyard not connected,” explained Capt. Ryan Bayley, owner of Sea Tow Great South Bay in Oakdale, N.Y. “With kids running around and people going back and forth on board, the shifter and the safety lanyard are often the cause of a boat not starting.”

Out of Fuel?
Boaters don’t always top off their fuel tanks—and that can lead to confusion over how much gas or diesel actually is in the tank. “The gas gauge is notoriously unreliable on a boat,” said Capt. Gary O’Reilly, owner of Sea Tow North Chesapeake out of Galena, M.D. “The gauge says half and before they know it, they are out of fuel.”

Keeping a fuel log will help you keep tabs on your boat’s fuel level. By knowing the capacity of your fuel tank, how many hours the engine has been run and the average number of gallons you burn per hour, you can get a rough idea of how much fuel is left or how many hours you may continue to run until empty. And always remember the golden rule for how much fuel you should have and how far you should go: Use 1/3 of your fuel for your trip out and 1/3 for your trip in, while keeping 1/3 in reserve for the unknown.

Be Weather-Wise
Knowing the current weather conditions and the forecast for your boating area can help you avoid problems when bad weather threatens, either by altering the float plan, bringing along extra gear, or postponing your outing. “It might be warm and calm at your port but blowing hard where you are going,” said Capt. Bayley. “Once you get everyone down to the boat, it’s harder to call off the trip. Make sure you’ve done the research on the weather so you can make a good decision in advance.”

Battery Switch Savvy
“Knowing how your battery charger works, and whether to have the switch on 1, 2 or “All” (or “Both”) is a big deal,” said Capt. O’Reilly. “A lot of people think “All” is the place to be, and then they run down their batteries and can’t start the boat.”

Boaters should start off with two fully charged batteries, then choose one of the two available battery switch positions for running, either 1 or 2. Only use the “All” or "Both" position if it is an emergency when both batteries are discharged to the point that neither of them alone will crank the engine over but two can do it together. How do you know which battery switch setting to use? One way is by alternating their use, using 1 for odd-numbered days and 2 for even-numbered days.

The Sea Tow Foundation also reminds boaters to make sure that they keep boating safe and fun for everyone by always designing a Sober Skipper before every boating trip. For more information on Sea Tow or to subscribe to their blog, please visit them at www.seatow.com.

Tags:  Education  Fuel  Sea Tow Great South Bay  Sea Tow Northern Chesapeake  Sober Skipper  Tips  Weather 

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