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Tow Bee Boating Safety Tip: Review First Mate Checklist Before Leaving the Dock!

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Updated: Friday, March 27, 2020

Tow Bee Boating Safety Tip: Review First Mate Checklist Before Leaving the Dock!

Have all the First Mates aboard perform these important safety checks before your next boating outing:

 

 Check that everyone has a properly fitted life jacket

Does everyone knows where the fire extinguishers and emergency flares are located?

Look at the fuel gauge and make sure the tank is full.

Find out where the first aid kit is kept on the boat

Double check the navigation lights and horn.

Help the captain perform a radio check with the VHF radio.

Does the weather forecast look okay?

Make sure you have drinking water and plenty of sunblock on board.

 

 You can purchase a set of First Mate Checklists by clicking here.


 

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Tags:  First Mate Checklist  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips 

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Tow Bee Boating Boating Safety Tip: Stay Hydrated!

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, June 24, 2019
Updated: Sunday, March 29, 2020

Tow Bee Boating Safety Tip: Stay Hydrated!

Tow Bee wants all boaters to know that dehydration is a doozie. Long days out on your boat combined with constant sunshine can lead to dehydration quicker than you might realize; and when sugary drinks like soda and juice are involved, those risks can be even higher. So, when you’re packing up the cooler for a day out on the water, be sure to include plenty of water for everyone on board. That means several bottles for each passenger if you’re going to be out all day!
 
It is especially important to limit alcohol consumption while on the water or skip it all together. Alcoholic beverages mixed with the sun, motion of the boat and the heat can be a dangerous combination. But, if alcoholic drinks are included in your boating plans, please designate a Sober Skipper before leaving the dock to ensure everyone’s safety.
 

 

Tags:  2018-19  Dehydration  Hydration  Sun  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips  Water 

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Tow Bee Boating Safety Tip: Keep Sunshine in Mind!

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, June 14, 2019
Updated: Sunday, March 29, 2020

Tow Bee Boating Safety Tip: Keep Sunshine in Mind!

If there’s one thing that can instantly put a damper on your summer vacation, it’s sunburn. We’ve all been there, yet every summer, many of us end up as red as a tomato at some point or another. Long days out on the water mean more sun exposure than you might be used to. Combine that with getting in and out of the water to swim and cool off which leads to the sunscreen being washed off and it is easy to forget to reapply.

Next time you head out, grab plenty of sunscreen and set a timer to help remind you to reapply it every hour. If you’re out fishing or plan to be in the sun for extended periods of time without the shade of a canopy or umbrella available, consider a wide-brimmed hat and a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt. Many companies now make clothing with UV protection built in to the fabric. You can also wear a neck wrap to cover your neck, ears and the lower part of your face. And, of course, don’t forget to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun and reflections.

Whatever you choose, be extra careful this summer so you don’t end up with the pain and discomfort of sunburn. And, it is important to know that sunburn can take place anytime during the rest of the year, too.

Click here for more Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips

 

Tags:  2018-19  Sun  Sunscreen  Sunshine  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips 

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Tips for Loading and Unloading Your Vessel at the Boat Ramp

Posted By Gail Kulp, Thursday, June 13, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Tips for Loading and Unloading Your Vessel at the Boat Ramp

With boating season for most of the country underway, countless boaters are already out sharing in one of America’s greatest pastimes. This can sometimes lead to lines at the boat ramp and busy waterways, which at times, can lead to problems. In light of this, we wanted to make sure our members are prepared with a few boat-ramp tips to keep in mind as they kick-off the new season.

One Sea Tow member, Randall, recently reached out to tell us about he and his family’s recent fiasco at their local boat ramp. Instead of letting it bring him down, Randall wanted to share it as a learning experience to his fellow members far and wide.

Randall and his family were finishing up a fun day of jet skiing on their local waterway. Upon returning to the ramp, he and his son-in-law were loading the jet skis back onto the trailer when peril struck.

With constantly changing conditions – whether it’s weather, water current or something else – no two boating excursions are identical. The same can be said for loading and unloading at the ramp, something Randall and his family experienced firsthand.

Randall’s son-in-law approached the ramp and got out of the vehicle as he’d been taught – engine off and emergency brake set – however, it was low tide. The ramp was wet and the algae that had accumulated throughout the summer made the surface extremely slippery. Long story short, before they knew it, the truck had slid into the water.

In light of the situation, Randall wanted to share a few tips to help boaters who might find themselves in a situation similar to his, with the hope they might come out the other side safe, sound and dry. Below are a few of his tips:

  1. “If the tide is half-to-low tide, I will lock the front axles on my four-wheel drive truck so that the front tires are mechanically locked in on drier pavement.”
    Sea Tow Says: This is a great practice to incorporate into your routine. Before backing down a ramp, note where the algae begins to accumulate and attempt to keep your vehicle off this area; you may not have the traction to recover your boat and trailer with the extra weight.  It may be necessary to wait until a higher tide, use a different lane of the ramp, or use a different ramp all together.
  2. “If my son-in-law (or someone else) is unloading or loading, we use wheel chocks and have a driver stay in the seat.”
    Sea Tow Says: It’s always a good idea to have a buddy help you load up so that someone is readily available to react if things don’t go according to plan. Wheel chocks are a great tool to prevent any sort of sliding, but only if if they are used against the wheels that are NOT on algae.
  3. “Those who are not helping load or unload should stay on land. No passengers are allowed in the truck if it’s on the ramp, just in case the vehicle does slide down.”
    Sea Tow Says: Follow in Randall’s family’s footsteps and have your friends and family wait on shore while you load up on the ramp.

In addition, we have a few tips of our own that both new boaters and those with years of experience can always practice to make sure the loading and unloading process goes as smoothly as possible.

  1. Take the time to make sure everything is ready and aligned before you start loading or unloading. Inspect the ramp’s conditions. Ensure your trailer and boat are ready to be moved. Line everything up carefully to ensure a smooth and safe process.
  2. Only back your trailer in as far as necessary. Backing it in too far may mean getting into the algae with your vehicle, as well as making it more difficult to properly seat your boat on the rollers or bunkers as you drive back up the ramp.
  3. Be aware of conditions. Make note of the tide, wind speeds and current. If you’re fighting rougher conditions, it can make it very difficult to align the vessel properly. Try handy little tips like facing the trailer ever-so-slightly downstream to make things a little easier.
  4. Make sure you’re ready for the worst. Your Sea Tow membership and a corresponding Sea Insure insurance plan can help you in case things go south.

Take the time to load and unload your boat the right way. Don’t become preoccupied with busy ramps or rushing to get home. Give yourself plenty of time and space. Take the proper care and you’ll be much more likely to have a safe and fun-filled day out on the water. After all, that’s what it’s all about!

This article has been republished by permission of Sea Tow and was published on their blog at https://www.seatow.com/BlogList/international/2019/4/Boating%20101%20Loading%20and%20Unloading%20Your%20Vessel%20at%20the%20Boat%20Ramp.  If you’d like to share your own boating story for consideration in the Sea Tow monthly newsletter, send them an email at info@seatow.com.

 

Tags:  2018-19  Boat Ramp  Sea Tow  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips 

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4 Spring Boating Safety Tips from a Sea Tow Captain

Posted By Gail Kulp, Sunday, March 17, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2020

4 Spring Boating Safety Tips from a Sea Tow Captain

With boating season upon us, it’s important to review safety standards before your maiden voyage of the year. The Sea Tow Foundation sat down with Capt. Mike DeGenaro of Sea Tow Charlotte Harbor to learn some tips to help prepare boaters for the water this spring.

“As spring fever sets in, we have a lot of boaters heading out on the water. For some, it’s been over a year since their last cruise and others have been boating on lakes and smaller bodies of water out of state,” said Capt. Mike. “It’s important to make sure that they know a few safety tips to guarantee they have a much better boating experience, no matter where they splash.”

  1. Always check the weather before heading out on the water. With the touch of a button, a marine forecast can be read on a smartphone. It’s important to realize the weather can easily change in a short amount of time. “This is even more serious when you’re in a small boat,” Capt. Mike cautioned. “Small boats are easily tossed around in wind and waves and can be easily swamped. When checking the forecast, look to see if a wind or small craft advisory is posted for the afternoon and plan your boating trip accordingly.”
  1. Have a way to call for help. “Cell phones may work well on land but should not be relied on out on the water where signals can be weak or non-existent,” Capt. Mike said. “VHF radios are the best option for a boater to call for help because they work even after getting wet and rescuers can put out a call to other boaters in your area to get you help even faster.”
  1. Know the area where you are boating and know how to communicate your location. “Telling a rescuer that you can see the blinking lights of a radio tower doesn’t help them find you when there are several identical towers in the same area that can all be seen for miles in any direction,” Capt. Mike noted. “What does help is knowing which boat ramp you left from, where you were heading and which marina you recently passed. This information will help rescuers find you.” A bonus is knowing how to read your instruments to give your exact latitude and longitude. This gives a precise location to rescuers and will save a lot of time, especially in a medical emergency.
  1. Always carry a life jacket, an anchor and signal lights. Even if you don’t plan to be boating after dark, you always need to be prepared with lights and signals and your life jacket should be on as soon as you notice trouble. “Don’t let your boat drift into shallow water or be pulled out to sea by the tide,” said Capt. Mike. “Put on your life jacket, set your anchor down and use your lights to signal for help so that rescuers can find you.”

Boaters uses the Sea Tow app to determine their position.

With a few simple precautions, you can enjoy a wonderful day of boating. Knowing you have a local Sea Tow Captain standing-by also gives you added Peace of Mind on the Water ™. Following these four tips and knowing basic boating safety will ensure a proper reaction in the event a situation that requires a call for help arises.

 

 

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  2018-19  Education  LIfe Jacket  Sea Tow Charlotte Harbor  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips  VHF Radio  Weather 

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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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Be Sure To Wear Your Life Jacket This Winter

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, November 2, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Be Sure To Wear Your Life Jacket This Winter

Did you know that your chances of dying from going overboard are five times greater in winter months than in the summer? The Sea Tow Foundation wants to remind boaters to always wear their life jackets, especially once the temperatures begin to drop. A total of 5 northern states have laws requiring life jackets to be worn by boaters during typically cold weather months. This requirement is in response to the number of accidents and deaths that have occurred as a result of cold-water immersion. 

“If you were to become immersed in cold water for even a short period of time, manual dexterity will be lost – along with your ability to swim or put on a life jacket – within ten minutes of being in the water,” said Sea Tow Foundation Executive Director, Gail R. Kulp. “Without a life jacket, the cold can lead to drowning long before hypothermia even begins to set in.”

The five states with cold water life jacket wear policies each have differing requirements:

Connecticut

Life jackets must be worn by anyone in a manually propelled vessel from October 1 through May 31 (must be a Type I, II, III, V or V-hybrid).

Maine

All boaters canoeing or kayaking on the Saco River between Hiram Dam and the Atlantic Ocean between January 1 and June 1st must be wearing a life jacket.

Massachusetts

Life jackets must be worn from September 15 - May 15 when operating a canoe or kayak.

New York

All owners or operators of a boat less than 21 feet, including rowboats, canoes and kayaks, between November 1st and May 1st, must ensure that all passengers must be wearing a securely-fastened United States Coast Guard-approved wearable personal flotation device of an appropriate size while out on the water.

Pennsylvania

From November 1 to April 30, boaters are required to wear a life jacket while on boats less than 16 feet in length or any canoe or kayak.

Even if your state doesn’t have a cold weather life jacket wear requirement, it is a smart and safe idea to wear a life jacket any time the water temperature drops below 60 degrees. It is imperative that, during cold weather months, boaters not only wear a life jacket, but have one that is USCG-approved and is appropriate for the type of activity that you will be participating in. Life jackets save lives, but only if they are worn.

Tags:  2018-2019  Cold Weather  Life Jacket  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips 

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Fall Boating Safety Tips

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, October 22, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, April 7, 2020

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.

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.

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.

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 http://www.seatow.com/boating-safety/automated-radio-checks.

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.

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:  2018-2019  Automated Radio Check  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips 

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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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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.

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Tags:  2016-17  Fire  Fire Extinguisher  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips 

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