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Wearing Life Jackets is Important

Posted By Gail Kulp, Thursday, May 21, 2020
Updated: Thursday, April 9, 2020

May 21 - Wearing Life Jackets is Important

Life jackets save lives, but only if they are worn. The U.S. Coast Guard requires children under age 13 to wear them, but anyone older is just required to carry life jackets on board, although a few activities like water skiing require that they be worn. It is best to always wear a life jacket, regardless of this requirement, because you never know when you’ll need one and finding one and putting it on takes too long in an emergency.

It’s also just as important that your life jacket fits properly. Having the wrong size life jacket can prove fatal if you needed it because the life jackets are sized for a certain amount of foam to float a person based on their weight. And, the life jacket fits based on the chest size measurement of the person as well. Click here to learn more about how to properly fit a life jacket on yourself and your children.

If you don’t have enough life jackets for everyone on board or they aren’t the correct sizes for everyone on board, you can stop by a Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Station and borrow one for free! Our life jacket loaner stations are stocked with Onyx brand life jackets in sizes to fit every member of your family from babies to adults. Simply return the borrowed life jacket at the end of your boating trip so that the next person can use it.

The letter for today is W.

Tags:  2019-20  Boating Safety  Life Jacket Loaner Program  Life Jacket Program  Life Jackets  National Safe Boating Week 

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A Visit to Sea Tow Southcentral Alaska

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, October 25, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2020

A Visit to Sea Tow Southcentral Alaska

In early October, Sea Tow Foundation Executive Director, Gail Kulp, had the opportunity to visit Alaska for the first time to attend a conference. While there, Gail stopped in to see Captain Trey Hill, owner of Sea Tow Southcentral Alaska. Trey owns three Sea Tow locations in Southcentral Alaska: Homer, Seward and Whittier.

Homer is the southernmost location for Capt. Trey. Located roughly 4 hours south of Anchorage, Homer is  home to many shops and restaurants as well as a bustling port for container ships, commercial fishing vessels and thousands of recreational boaters. Sea Tow’s Southcentral Alaskan office is located in town, with a boat docked in port providing boaters peace-of-mind 24/7/365. The Sea Tow Foundation’s life jacket loaner station is also available 24/7/365 for anyone who needs to borrow a life jacket to help ensure a safe day on the water.

Whittier is the easternmost location for Capt. Trey, a glacier-viewing paradise on Prince William Sound, about an hour southeast of Anchorage. Access to Whittier is controlled by the longest combined-use tunnel in North America. The tunnel is one lane and controlled on a tight schedule in 15 minute increments. This allows for vehicle traffic to flow in both directions as well as allow for a train to pass through the tunnel. There is always a full-time captain on Trey’s staff in Whittier to ensure prompt service for boaters; and eliminating any wait for tunnel traffic before Sea Tow help arrives.

Seward, one of the oldest communities in Alaska, is located on Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula about 2 ½ hours south of Anchorage. As a popular cruise port, Seward offers many activities to entertain cruise passengers including kayaking, fishing, whale watching cruises, shopping, or taking a ride on the Alaska Railroad (which begins in Seward). Seward is also very popular among recreational boaters. Gail was lucky enough to get a personal tour from Capt. Trey on a Sea Tow boat. They took in the amazing views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains and were lucky enough to see a few otters playing around in the crystal blue waters, which was a highlight for Makena, the dog, who wanted to join in on their fun.

Note from Gail: I fell in love with Alaska and, knowing that the state is 2 ½ times the size of Texas and that I’d only managed to see a small segment of it during my visit, I know that another trip will be in my future and I'm going to bring my family along! Who knows, maybe I’ll be one of the cruise ship passengers coming into port on my next trip! Why don't you plan a trip of your own?



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Tags:  2019-20  Life Jacket  Life Jacket Loaner Partnership  Life Jacket Loaner Station Grant  Life Jacket Program  News  Onyx Outdoor  Partner  Press Release  US Coast Guard  Vest Friends  Website. 

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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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