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Winter is a Great Time to Take a Boating Safety Course

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, January 4, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Winter is a Great Time to Take a Boating Safety Course

As the days get colder, it seems like the summer will never get here. Although your boat and gear may be stored away for the winter, you shouldn’t let your skills and knowledge get put away, too. Many states make changes to boating laws and regulations over the winter months, so it is good to get a refresher now that the New Year is here. 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 in a few months when it warms up again.

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.  Courses are offered by state boating agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, America’s Boating Club and many companies and organizations. Regardless of how the course is presented, the test 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 courses or you can visit the U.S. Coast Guard’s website to find a list of approved courses.

 

Tags:  2018-19  Americas Boating Club  Boating Safety  Education  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips  US Coast Guard  US Coast Guard Auxiliary  US Power Squadrons 

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Your Clothes Can Save Your Life

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, December 17, 2018
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2020

Your Clothes Can Save Your Life

Falling overboard can be scary. Although the best advice is to wear your life jacket at all times, we all know that it isn’t always done. If you find yourself overboard with no life jacket in sight, you do have other options which can work in a true emergency. Here are 5 tips from the Sea Tow Foundation of ways that your clothes can save your life.

  1. A piece of clothing can be used to reach out to a person in the water to pull him back onto the boat. Reaching out to a person is the first step in the “reach, throw, row, but don’t go” steps for rescuing someone in the water.
  2. Keep your clothes on to conserve body heat. Obviously, this depends on the temperature of the air and water where you are boating as well as the type of clothing that you are wearing. However, a shirt can act like a wetsuit top and help you trap heat inside against your core. Clothing can also block the harmful sun’s rays and prevent painful sunburn.
  3. Use your clothes to help your float. Take off your pants and tie the legs together using an overhand knot. To fill them with air, lift them over your head behind you and quickly bring your arms and the pants forward toward the water. They will fill with air and can be used as a buoy or float aid. Jeans are especially good, but it will work with other fabrics as well.
  4. Take off your shoes. It is difficult to tread water and stay afloat with weights strapped to your feet. If your shoes float, you can put them under your armpits to help with flotation. If they are heavy, they may sink, but it is better to lose a pair of shoes than your life.
  5. If you can find something floating in the water like a cooler or a piece of debris, you can climb onto it and use your clothing items as a paddle or sail to help propel you along in the water.

Practicing these techniques in a pool is a good idea before going out on a boat. And, again, the best advice is to always wear your life jacket. Having one on onboard is required, but getting to it and putting it on with little to no notice can be impossible. And with more comfortable life jackets on the market, there is no excuse not to wear one every time you on on or around water. If you need to borrow a life jacket for your boating trip, you can find a Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Station near you at http://www.boatingsafety.com/map/.

Tags:  2018-19  Clothes  Swim with Clothes  Tips 

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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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Be Sure To Wear Your Life Jacket This Winter

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, November 2, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, April 7, 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:  2018-2019  Cold Weather  Life Jacket  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips 

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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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Fall Boating Safety Tips

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, October 22, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, April 7, 2020

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.

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.

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.

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 http://www.seatow.com/boating-safety/automated-radio-checks.

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.

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:  2018-2019  Automated Radio Check  Tow Bee Boating Safety 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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