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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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Winterizing Your Boat Tips

Posted By Gail Kulp, Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Winterizing Your Boat Tips

It’s that time of year again – the time where northern boaters either remove their boats from the water for the winter or prepare for them to continue to be in use during freezing conditions and southern and western boaters perform regular maintenance before the High Season starts.

 

Not only is winterization an important part of maintaining your boat and ensuring it’s around for many seasons to come, it’s also important from a safety standpoint, keeping you and your loved ones, as well as your favorite waterways, safe and sound.

 

Here are five winterization tips from the Sea Tow Foundation:

 

·       Drain water – This may seem like common sense for many boaters, but you’d be surprised how many skip this critical winterization step. If you store your boat on land or in the water in cold weather,  it’s important to drain all water lines and use marine-specific anti-freeze to prevent critical engine and other components from freezing as the temperatures drop. Even states with warmer climates can see a handful of below freezing days or nights so this is important for these boaters as well. Also take the time to check the boat plug and window seals to ensure they are ready for the cold weather as well.

 

·       Properly dispose of all fluids and other hazardous materials – Proper winterization always includes changing your boat’s oil. Some boaters will also swap out batteries, check belts and hoses for leaks and follow other specific steps when getting their boat ready for winter in the cold regions or warmer climates. Remember to properly dispose of oil and batteries, as they can all be extremely harmful to the environment. If you’re not sure where  you can dispose of these in your area, check with your marina or local authorities like the U.S. Coast Guard or police marine unit.

 

·       Clean and inspect  all life jackets  – In order to be sure your life jackets are effective and able to work when needed, it’s important to properly clean them before storing them over the winter months or continuing to use them in the warmer climates. Mold and mildew can be a problem, but the Sea Tow Foundation has some simple steps that you can take to clean and dry them. And if you have any life jackets that no longer fit your boat’s passengers, you can always donate them to a local Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Drive!

 

·       Boat cleaning the eco-friendly way – Life jackets aren’t the only things on your boat that can become dirty. If you’re not careful, you may find mold all throughout your vessel, so it is important to scrub the boat with eco-friendly cleaners that won’t harm the environment before shrink wrapping the boat if you are planning to store the boat on land. If the boat is being used throughout the winter, it is still a good idea to give it a good cleaning before continued use.

 

·       Double check all safety equipment – Now is the perfect time to double check all of your boat’s safety equipment. This includes your VHF radio,  air horn, safety flares, lines, throwable buoys, boat hooks, fire extinguishers, and the first aid kit.  Make sure that nothing is expired or needs to be replaced or replenished. If so, take the time to get these items before the end of the year.  You can also use Sea Tow’s Automated Radio Check service to be sure your VHF radio is working correctly.

 

What other tips do you have when it comes to boat winterization? Share your favorite tips in the comments below!

Tags:  Automated Radio Check  life jacket donation  life jacket drive  radio check  tips for winterizing boat  used life jacket  winter boating  winterize boat 

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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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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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