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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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Tow Bee Boating Safety Tip: Wear Your Life Jacket!

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Thursday, May 19, 2016
Updated: Sunday, March 29, 2020

Tow Bee Boating Safety Tip: Wear Your Life Jacket!

Tow Bee wants all boaters to know that it is important to wear your life jacket. The Sea Tow Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that life jackets are available to boaters who need them. Since 2008, 57,046 life jackets have been provided to recreational boaters through the Foundation's Life Jacket Loaner Program. Life jackets save lives and, with comfortable options like inflatable belt packs and vests, are easy and comfortable to wear at all times.

 

Tags:  2015-16  Life Jacket  Life Jacket Loaner Program  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips 

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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

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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Tow Bee Boating Safety Tip: File a Float Plan Before Each Outing!

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

Tow Bee Boating Safety Tip: File a Float Plan Before Each Outing!

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

Taking five minutes to fill out a float plan would have prevented many of these needless searches or allowed rescuers to narrow down the area in which they are searching. The purpose of a float plan is to explain where you plan to boat, how long you will be gone and when you plan to return as well as provide a phone number to call if you fail to return by the appointed time. Then, you give your float plan to a trusted friend staying on the shore. And, at the end of your boating trip, don't forget to call your friend to cancel your float plan and let him/her know that you made it home safely.

Click this link to US Coast Guard Float Plan Form

Click here for more Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips!

Tags:  Float Plan  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips 

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Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips: Designate a Sober Skipper!

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

Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips: Designate a Sober Skipper!

Tow Bee wants all boaters to know that a fun day on the water shouldn’t have to end in tragedy. Did you know that alcohol is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents? Even just one drink can impair boaters, especially considering the effects from the sun, wind and movement of the boat.

Boat operators must be clear-headed and able to make quick decisions to avoid collisions while on the water. Consuming alcohol or taking drugs, even some over-the-counter or prescription medicines can decrease reaction time and the ability to think clearly.

That’s why it’s vital that every time you head out on the water, you designate a Sober Skipper to take the helm. You wouldn’t head out for a night on the town without a designated driver, so don’t leave the dock without a Sober Skipper!
Click here to learn more about becoming a Designated Skipper

Click here for more Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips!

Tags:  Sober Skipper  Take the Pledge  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips 

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

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 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 onboard. 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:  Fire  Fire Extinguisher  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips  VHF Radio 

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Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips: Choose the Right Fuel for Your Boat!

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

Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips: Choose the Right Fuel for Your Boat!

Do you ever pull up to the fuel dock and wonder to yourself what all those numbers mean? Much like your car or truck, your boat has specific needs when it comes to fuel. While your typical fuel pump at the gas station down the street has options for Regular, Mid-Grade and Premium gasoline for your car, the pump down at the local marina is a bit different.

These days, nearly all gas, whether it’s for your car, truck or boat, contains a chemical called ethanol. When mixed with gasoline, these ethanol blends help to reduce carbon emissions and limit environmental impact caused by traditional fuel. In fact, they are often sold for Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFV).

The problem comes when introducing ethanol into marine engines in boats. When ethanol comes into contact with water, it will create a corrosive mix that can harm the boat’s engine, which could leave you stranded in the middle of your favorite waterway.

While some areas around the country may still have access to the ethanol-free gasoline that was the norm decades ago, most will have some sort of blend. Keeping the ethanol content at or below 10% is critical when purchasing fuel for your boat.

For example, gas sold as E15 has 15% ethanol whereas E85 is 85% ethanol, so both of these options would provide too much ethanol for your boat’s engine. E10 fuel is right at the 10% mark and would work on most gasoline boat engines, but it is important to check with your boat and engine manufacturer to be sure.

The next time you pull up to the fuel dock, remember to use either an ethanol-free gasoline or an E10 blend in your boat. Making sure you use the correct fuel will save you the headache of having to call your local Sea Tow captain for a tow when your boat’s engine stops working and it will also save you thousands of dollars to repair or replace a damaged motor.

 

Click here for more Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips

Tags:  E15  E85  Ethanol  FFV  Fuel  Tow Bee  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips  Tow Bee Safety Tips 

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Tow Bee Safety Tip: Check Weather Forecast Before Each Outing!

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

Tow Bee Safety Tip: Check Weather Forecast Before Each Outing!

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 on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Marine Forecasts page.

It is also important to continue checking the weather while you are out on the water. You should keep an eye out for changes in wind direction and/or wind speed. And you can also watch for the buildup of dark clouds, especially in the western sky..

If you have a VHF radio, you can tune to the weather channel frequency. Broadcasts of local and coastal marine forecasts run on a continuous cycle from the National Weather Service. Tidal information and real time observations from buoys are also included.

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For additional boating safety tips throughout the various seasons, check out our blog posts linked below:

Fall

Winter

Spring  

Summer 

Hurricane Season   

 

Click here for more Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips

Tags:  National Weather Service  NOAA  Tow Bee  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips  Tow Bee Safety Tips  VHF Radio  Weather 

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