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National Safe Boating Week 2019- Wear your Life Jacket to Work Day

Posted By Gail Kulp, Thursday, May 16, 2019
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2020

National Safe Boating Week 2019- Wear your Life Jacket to Work Day

Today, boaters all around the country are putting on their trusty life jackets and heading into work to help promote boating and life jacket safety.

So, grab your favorite life jacket and help kick off another National Safe Boating Week and encourage your co-workers to do the same! You can even help spread the message of fun and safe boating by bringing in extra life jackets for your co-workers who may not be avid boaters themselves. Snap some pics and share them on social media using the hashtags #LifeJacket2Work19 #BoatingSafety #BoatingSafetyWeek #VestFriends #NSBW19

At the Sea Tow Foundation, we want each and every trip out on the water to be as fun and safe as possible. Help us make this National Safe Boating Week the best one ever and Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day!

Tags:  2018-19  National Safe Boating Week  Tips  Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day 

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Tips for Towing a Boat with an RV

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, January 25, 2019
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2020

Tips for Towing a Boat with an RV

More people than ever are towing boat trailers behind their RVs (Recreational Vehicles) and travel trailers. However, towing a boat from the back of an RV generally is more complicated than towing behind a car, SUV or pickup. In the towing world, a Class-A motorhome towing a boat trailer would be known as a double-tow; while towing a boat trailer with a truck towing a fifth-wheel is known as a triple-tow.

Overall, a double-tow setup is easier to operate than a triple-tow. According to Brett Becker, the publisher of the Online Towing Guide, a triple-tow configuration is a serious undertaking.

“If somebody wants to take on triple-towing, I suggest over-engineering everything and siding with caution at every step,” Becker explained. “Two trailers and a tow vehicle is a lot of mass and energy. Take it seriously and do it properly, or don’t do it at all.”

The rules and regulations for double- and triple-towing vary by state and are constantly changing. Before towing, RV’ers should check the Department of Motor Vehicles website for each state they will be passing through for the latest regulations.

Here are a few more tips for towing a boat from an RV offered by Sea Tow Services International, the nation’s leading provider of on-water assistance.

 

Verify tow capacity – Make sure that your RV has enough towing capacity to pull your boat and that your hitch can take the load, especially if you need to use a hitch extender. Also be sure to grease the trailer bearings thoroughly. You won’t know if they’re overheating, because you can’t see them.

Be sure you are insured – Make sure your policy covers you for double and triple tows! In addition to having good collision insurance, it makes sense to insure yourself for liability situations, as well. If, for whatever reason, your boat comes uncoupled and takes out three other cars, you want to have the coverage you need.

Inspect your brakes and leave braking room –Ensure the brakes are working on each trailer being towed. This is especially true for a triple-tow situation. Panic-stopping with two trailers in tow does not work well. If you follow too closely and have to jump on the brakes to keep from hitting something in front of you, odds are good your trailers aren’t going to stay in a straight line. Lastly, confirm your trailer lights work and are visible to those around and behind you.

Make wide turns –Ensure there’s enough clearance between your boat and your RV when you turn tightly. In tight turns, the corners of the boat may rub against the corners of your RV, which is bad all around, so make turns as wide as road conditions permit.

See behind you –Find a way to be able to watch your boat under tow, either directly via a wireless web cam, or virtually via wireless tire pressure sensors, or both. If you can’t see the rig you’re towing, it’s imperative to put pressure and temperature sensors on the trailer tires, or you won’t know that your trailer is dragging down the road on a rim instead of an inflated tire.

Practice at the boat ramp –You can’t see behind as well from an RV. And, you don’t want it to wind up in the water. Your best bet is to find a good local freshwater launch ramp and practice as many times as it takes to figure out a routine that works for you and your rig. When you are backing up, go slowly, and station somebody outside the RV to watch and shout in case of trouble. Keep your windows down and your sound system off so you can hear.

Make frequent inspections – Always perform a complete walk-around inspection of your RV, boat and trailer before you pull onto the road. Then, stop at the first rest area and do another walk-around to find and fix problems, especially with tires, hitches, and boat covers. Keep up the inspections throughout the trip and you will prevent any problems before they start.

The Sea Tow Foundation also reminds boaters to take a boating safety class to learn more tips like these. This article was originally published on the Sea Tow Blog and has been reprinted here with permission.  For more information on Sea Tow or to subscribe to their blog, please visit them at www.seatow.com.

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Tags:  2018-19  RV  Tips  Towing a Boat  Trailer 

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How to Avoid Common Boating Mistakes

Posted By Gail Kulp, Sunday, January 6, 2019
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2020

How to Avoid Common Boating Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, even the most seasoned boaters. They don't have to be the end to a great day on the water. With these tips from the Sea Tow® captains, you can be back on the water in no time!

Shifter in Neutral?
Sea Tow Captains ask the operator of a stalled boat a very simple question: Is the boat’s engine in neutral when they try to start it? “It can be something as simple as the boat being in gear or the safety lanyard not connected,” explained Capt. Ryan Bayley, owner of Sea Tow Great South Bay in Oakdale, N.Y. “With kids running around and people going back and forth on board, the shifter and the safety lanyard are often the cause of a boat not starting.”

Out of Fuel?
Boaters don’t always top off their fuel tanks—and that can lead to confusion over how much gas or diesel actually is in the tank. “The gas gauge is notoriously unreliable on a boat,” said Capt. Gary O’Reilly, owner of Sea Tow North Chesapeake out of Galena, M.D. “The gauge says half and before they know it, they are out of fuel.”

Keeping a fuel log will help you keep tabs on your boat’s fuel level. By knowing the capacity of your fuel tank, how many hours the engine has been run and the average number of gallons you burn per hour, you can get a rough idea of how much fuel is left or how many hours you may continue to run until empty. And always remember the golden rule for how much fuel you should have and how far you should go: Use 1/3 of your fuel for your trip out and 1/3 for your trip in, while keeping 1/3 in reserve for the unknown.

Be Weather-Wise
Knowing the current weather conditions and the forecast for your boating area can help you avoid problems when bad weather threatens, either by altering the float plan, bringing along extra gear, or postponing your outing. “It might be warm and calm at your port but blowing hard where you are going,” said Capt. Bayley. “Once you get everyone down to the boat, it’s harder to call off the trip. Make sure you’ve done the research on the weather so you can make a good decision in advance.”

Battery Switch Savvy
“Knowing how your battery charger works, and whether to have the switch on 1, 2 or “All” (or “Both”) is a big deal,” said Capt. O’Reilly. “A lot of people think “All” is the place to be, and then they run down their batteries and can’t start the boat.”

Boaters should start off with two fully charged batteries, then choose one of the two available battery switch positions for running, either 1 or 2. Only use the “All” or "Both" position if it is an emergency when both batteries are discharged to the point that neither of them alone will crank the engine over but two can do it together. How do you know which battery switch setting to use? One way is by alternating their use, using 1 for odd-numbered days and 2 for even-numbered days.

The Sea Tow Foundation also reminds boaters to make sure that they keep boating safe and fun for everyone by always designing a Sober Skipper before every boating trip. For more information on Sea Tow or to subscribe to their blog, please visit them at www.seatow.com.

Tags:  Education  Fuel  Sea Tow Great South Bay  Sea Tow Northern Chesapeake  Sober Skipper  Tips  Weather 

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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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Five Fall Boating Safety Tips

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, 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.
  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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