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

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, February 7, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sea Tow Foundation Blog: 5 Reasons to Take a Boating Safety Class this Winter

Posted By Gail Kulp, Saturday, January 4, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Sea Tow Foundation Blog: 5 Reasons to Take a Boating Safety Class this Winter

As the days start to get longer and the calendar creeps closer to spring, the preparations for the spring boating season aren’t far away. These preparations include checking your boat from bow to stern, purchasing new equipment and scheduling your slip at the marina.

You should also add taking a boating safety course to your list as well. Whether you’re a seasoned boater or looking to take one out for the first time, there’s plenty of reasons why you should take a boating safety course prior to spring boating season. Below are five reasons you should enroll in one today:

  1. In many places, it’s the law – A number of states now require that boat operators complete and pass a boating safety course as well. To find out if your state is on this list, you can search for “Boating Agency” and include your state’s name to find their official website. You’ll also be able to find any requirements for taking a boating safety course for a specific type or size of boat or for a specific age of the operator.
  2. Stay up-to-date on new regulations – Many states make changes to boating laws and regulations which take effect on January 1st and 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.
  3. Learn something new – Just because you’ve been boating all your life doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new! There are courses out there for boaters of all levels, from the basic classes directed at those who have never been on a boat, to more advanced topics aimed at even the most experienced captains. No matter your age or experience level, there’s surely something out there for you to learn!
  4. Help educate a young boater – If you have a son, daughter, nephew, niece, grandchild or any other young one you’d like to pass along your love of boating to, there’s no better place to start than by enrolling them in a boating safety course! Here, they’ll get the hands-on knowledge that will prepare them for a lifetime of boating. To strengthen that bond, you can even take the course with them!
  5. Save on insurance – As an added incentive to get this boating safety training, boating insurance companies regularly offer discounts to boaters who successfully complete an approved boating safety course. Check with your insurance company for a list of courses. Plus, you may learn a thing or two along the way!

Classroom courses are frequently offered in the evenings or on weekends by your state boating agency, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, America’s Boating Club and many private companies as well. You can also find a list of online boating safety courses that are available on the U.S. Coast Guard’s website. 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.

What’s the best piece of advice you learned in a boating safety class? Share your favorite tidbits in the comments below!

 

 

Tags:  2019-20  Americas Boating Club  US Coast Guard  US Coast Guard Auxiliary  Website  Winter 

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5 New Year’s Boating Resolutions for a Safe and Fun 2020

Posted By Gail Kulp, Thursday, December 26, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2020

5 New Year’s Boating Resolutions for a Safe and Fun 2020

With the holidays behind us, it’s officially time to turn over a new leaf in the new year. That’s right, 2020 is finally here.

They say hindsight is 20/20, but now is your chance to give 2020 some foresight, too. If you’re looking for some boating-related New Year’s resolutions, look no further than the list below:

Spend more time on the water – This is one New Year’s resolution that should be on every boaters’ list. If you’re anything like us, there’s no such thing as too much time spent at the helm of your vessel. So, for 2020, pledge to take more time out on your favorite waterways. Trust us, your mental health will thank you!

Wear your life jacket while underway–It’s the law to have enough wearable life jackets for everyone on board your boat in the correct sizes for each person and the U.S .Coast Guard requires that children under age 13 wear their life jackets at all times when underway. This year, we challenge you to have everyone on board WEAR their life jackets Not only does this set a good example for the kids by having the adults wear their life jackets, but it things go south and you find yourself in a boating emergency, it could be the difference between a slight inconvenience and disaster. And with the new inflatable life jacket models available from our friends at Onyx, you can have a life jacket on and never feel like it gets in your way. If you don’t happen to have a life jacket for all your passengers, you can always stop by one of our 550+ Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Stations and borrow one for the day for free! Click here to find the location nearest you.

Check your VHF radio before every trip – This is another easy resolution to check off the list. Having a working VHF radio is an essential piece to the boating safety puzzle, so make sure yours is working properly before you leave the dock. In most boating hotspots, you can use Sea Tow’s free Automated Radio Check service. Simply tune your radio to the proper channel for your area, speak into the radio, and wait for the playback. It couldn’t be easier! Click here to find your area’s ARC channel.

Designate a Sober Skipper – Did you know that alcohol is the leading cause of boating accidents? Just like driving a car, alcohol can impair your ability to operate your vessel, and the sun, waves and other boating-specific attributes can lead to impairment much faster than you think. That’s why it’s vital that you and your loved ones designate a Sober Skipper each and every time you leave the dock. You can even join us by taking the Sober Skipper pledge by clicking here.

Take a boating safety course – Want to learn something new and expand your boating horizons in 2020? Then why not take a boating safety course? Boating safety courses aren’t just for novice or beginner boaters, either. Whether you’re heading out to the dock for the first time or have been boating for years, there’s always something new to learn. Our friends at America’s Boating Club have all sorts of great courses to help enhance your boating knowledge and completing a course will often provide you with a discount on your boat owner’s insurance. Click here to check out all of their educational offerings.

Do you have any other boating resolutions you’re planning on achieving in 2020? Share yours in the comments below

Tags:  2019-20  Americas Boating Club  Automated Radio Check  Life Jacket Loaner Station Grant  Onyx Outdoor  Sober Skipper  VHF Radio 

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Sea Tow Foundation Holiday Gift Ideas for the Boater in Your Life

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, December 13, 2019
Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

Sea Tow Foundation Holiday Gift Ideas for the Boater in Your Life

 

Tis the season to be jolly! That means it’s time to wrap up your holiday shopping and grab some last-minute gifts for friends and family.

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Many people have the thought that boaters are difficult to shop for, but we have a whole boat load of partners that make the perfect gifts for your favorite boater this holiday season. Just a few can be found below:.

  • A brand-new life jacket from Onyx Outdoor – There’s no better gift than safety this holiday season! And whether the boater in your life is a lifelong boater or is just getting started, a life jacket makes a great gift. For your favorite boater, check out Onyx’s line of awesome inflatable life jackets, which allow wearers full mobility without sacrificing safety!.

  • A boating safety course from America’s Boating Club – Keeping with the theme of safety, a boating safety class is a great idea for a holiday gift for those looking to cut down on stuff! There are classes for all types of boaters, so whether your gift recipient is an experienced boater looking to learn a new skill or someone who just started boating this year, there’s no shortage of seminars to take!.

  • A handheld VHF Radio from Cobra – A working emergency radio is so important when you need help, and cell phones often don’t get service when out boating on many waterways. Make sure your loved one can call for help whenever and wherever they boat with a new VHF radio..

  • An Overboard Wireless emergency cutoff device from FELL Marine – Engine cutoff devices can be a crucial piece to the boating safety puzzle, but there are countless boaters out there who don’t use theirs because the typical lanyard designs can limit movement. A wireless cutoff device allows full movement around the vessel while still providing the safety needed if someone unexpectedly ends up in the water so that the engine and propeller can be automatically shut off..

  • Sunglasses from Fishgillz – Looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for the boater or angler in your life? Look no further than a set of Fishgillz sunglasses! These sunglasses pair polarized lenses with a special floating technology to combine comfort, style, and function all into one package!.

  • Sea Tow membership –There’s no better gift for your favorite boater than Peace of Mind on the Water. Whether your boating buddies are on lakes, rivers or the open ocean, a Sea Tow membership can be the perfect gift. Memberships come complete with tows, fuel deliveries, jump starts, covered ungroundings and so much more. You can even buy the membership instantly online, making it the perfect last-minute holiday gift in the days, hours and even minutes leading up to whenever your friends and family open their presents!

Tags:  2019-20  Americas Boating Club  Cobra  Engine Cutoff Device  Fell Marine  Fishgillz  Life Jacket  Onyx Outdoor  Sea Tow  US Coast Guard  VHF Radio  Winter 

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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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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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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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