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Finally, a Way to Dispose of Expired Flares

Posted By Gail Kulp, Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, July 14, 2020

PRESS RELEASE

 

Finally, a Way to Dispose of Expired Flares

 

The Sea Tow Foundation – a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the education and awareness of safe boating practices – was recently awarded a new grant from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund starting this month to conduct a Flare Disposal Program.

 

A flare is a pyrotechnic type of Visual Distress Signal (VDS), and all boaters are required by the USCG to carry both day and night VDS any time they are operating on coastal waters, the Great Lakes, or on the waters connecting to these areas. This means that there are millions of boaters carrying flares while on their boats at any moment.

 

Flares expire after 42 months and must be replaced to meet the USCG’s carriage requirements. Simply throwing expired flares in the trash would be an environmental and health hazard as they contain highly toxic chemicals such as perchlorate. Unfortunately, there is no single agency or organization handling the disposal of unwanted/expired flares in the U.S. There is also unclear requirements at the state level  about how flares should be disposed of properly.

 

In answer to the problem of what to do with millions of expired flares, the Sea Tow Foundation proposed working with the USCG to develop a flare disposal pilot program for boaters in Florida. This pilot program would utilize a mobile incineration unit that would traverse Florida over the 2021 year to safely dispose of flares collected at events around the state.

 

“While flare disposal is not part of a boater’s legal responsibility, it does affect the environment when not disposed of properly,” stated Gail R. Kulp, Sea Tow Foundation’s Executive Director. She added, “Not disposing of flares properly can also impact the safety of boaters if expired flares are stored on board boats.”

 

Plans for the flare disposal program are still in the early stages, as this grant project just started July 1st, but www.flaredisposal.com has been created and will have more information as it becomes available.

 

In addition to this grant program, the Sea Tow Foundation has received continued funding for  their successful Life Jacket Loaner Program grant for the 13th year ensuring that boaters all around the country can have access to properly fitting life jackets that can be borrowed and returned from a local stand. Life jacket applications for the 2021 boating season will be opening on November 1, 2020 via www.boatingsafety.com.

 

Tags:  2020-2021  Expired Flares  Flare Disposal  US Coast Guard  Visual Distress Signals 

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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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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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Sea Tow Foundation’s Sober Skipper Program is Saving Lives

Posted By Gail Kulp, Thursday, November 7, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Sea Tow Foundation’s Sober Skipper Program is Saving Lives

The Sea Tow Foundation has announced the 2017-2018 grant findings for its Sober Skipper program. First launched in 2015 and now in more than 180 cities across 51 states and territories, the program encourages boaters to be or to designate a Sober Skipper before every boating trip. The Sober Skipper campaign is funded through a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.

In the United States, Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) thresholds differ from state to state regarding who is permitted to operate a boat. Likewise, the penalties for Boating Under the Influence (BUI) vary, even though BUI has consistently been the top contributing factor of fatal boating accidents. Yet not a single state has a law in place that prohibits boaters from possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages while their boat is being used for recreational purposes, as long as the operator stays below the state’s BAC threshold.

The Sea Tow Foundation is trying to change that, and for the first time in the history of the Sober Skipper Program, it is able to prove that the campaign is having a positive effect on the number of BUI deaths, injuries and accidents, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Accident Statistics.

Among the 51 states and territories that have boating communities who have embraced the Sober Skipper Program, 94 percent have seen a reduction of BUI-related deaths, accidents or injuries, and a total of seven states saw a reduction in BUI across all three categories. Gail R. Kulp, the Sea Tow Foundation’s executive director, said this is definitive proof that the Foundation’s Sober Skipper Campaign is working and that the grassroots efforts used to promote the message have been successful.

“We have seen over 8.4 million people be reached by the Sober Skipper Program this year,” Kulp said. “This is an 800 percent increase and, based on the grant funding provided, this means that it cost less than one cent per person to make a difference and save lives.”

The media generated by the Sober Skipper Program this year was valued at over $215,000 which is more than double the amount of grant funding that the project was awarded. There was also an increase in the number of organizations, agencies and private citizens who requested a set of Sober Skipper wristbands to host a “Take the Pledge” event.

“These results are a big win, not only for the Sea Tow Foundation, but for the boating public at large,” Kulp added. “They illustrate that when the boating community comes together, great things can be achieved. We can’t wait to carry this momentum into the future and hopefully cut BUI deaths to zero.”

To Take the Pledge to be a Sober Skipper or request materials to host an event, visit www.soberskipper.com.

Tags:  2017-18  2019-20  BUI  Funding  Grants  News  Partner  Press Release  Sober Skipper  US Coast Guard  Website 

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Apply Today to Host a Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Station!

Posted By Gail Kulp, Thursday, October 31, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Apply Today to Host a Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Station!

Is your company, team, organization or club passionate about boating? Are you looking for a way to engage with your local community to make an impact and save lives? Now’s your chance, because the Sea Tow Foundation is officially accepting applications to set up new or restock existing Life Jacket Loaner Stations.

In case you’re not familiar with our Life Jacket Loaner Program, the Sea Tow Foundation started the program 12 years ago thanks to grant funds from the Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Sea Tow Foundation works with organizations all throughout the country to establish and maintain a network of close to 600 life jacket loaner stations where local boaters can borrow a life jacket for the day, free of charge. And the life jackets are saving lives on waterways both near and far.

If your organization is interested in hosting a Life Jacket Loaner Station in your hometown, simply complete the online application by February 1, 2020.

In April 2020, the selected organizations will be sent Onyx Outdoor life jackets ranging in sizes from infant to adult XL, as well as informational brochures on the importance of life jacket use. In addition, organizations will receive a manual detailing how to maintain the loaner station, announce the opening of the station to the local media, and complete monthly reports describing how the life jackets are used.

New this year, reimbursement may be provided to organizations interested in building a loaner stand locally or working with a local group to help in building a stand. If you are selected to receive the reimbursement, signage will be provided, as well as building plans.

Now is your chance to make a difference in your local boating community! Submit your application today! We look forward to working with you in 2020!

 

Tags:  2019-20  Life Jacket  Life Jacket Loaner Partnership  Life Jacket Loaner Program  Life Jacket Loaner Station Grant  US Coast Guard  Vest Friends  Website 

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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?

 

 

 Attached Thumbnails:

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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Sea Tow Foundation Announces $330,000 in Grants Awarded for 2019-20

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, August 2, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Sea Tow Foundation Announces $330,000 in Grants Awarded for 2019-20

The Sea Tow Foundation – a nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading awareness of safe boating practices – has announced it will receive a series of grants from the United States Coast Guard for the 2019-20 grant year and beyond.

The grants – administered through the Coast Guard’s Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund – will be used to support the Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Program and Sober Skipper Program.

“We couldn’t be more excited to continue to receive such resounding support from our friends at the Coast Guard,” said Gail R. Kulp, executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation. “These grants will go a long way toward saving lives on waterways all throughout the country, both this year and beyond.”

The Coast Guard has awarded the Foundation’s seminal Life Jacket Loaner Program with $210,000 for the coming year – an increase of nearly 8 percent year-over-year. In addition, the Sea Tow Foundation has been awarded the same amount for the following two years to guarantee that the Life Jacket Loaner Program will continue well into the future.

The grant money will be used toward increasing the number of Life Jacket Loaner Stations – of which there are currently more than 575 across the country. In addition, it will help fund replenishments and repairs of existing stations. Applications for next summer’s life jackets and loaner stations will begin on November 1, 2019 on the Sea Tow Foundation’s website. Kulp said more information will be shared this fall.

The Life Jacket Loaner Program grant will also help in the development and maintenance of an online database of life jacket loaner station locations around the country, along with a map of those locations,

A second grant of $120,000 has been awarded for the Sober Skipper program, which celebrated its sixth year in 2019. These funds will help the Foundation continue its goals of building greater awareness of the importance of sober boating through grassroots efforts to spread the message in boating communities around the country.

“Alcohol is the leading known contributor in fatal boating accidents, so our Sober Skipper program couldn’t be more important,” Kulp said. “Through these grants, we’ll be able to continue to increase the program’s reach through additional advertising and social media efforts.”

In the past year, the Sea Tow Foundation has established a brand-new American Sober Skipper Advisory Council, which works to unite the corporate and non-profit sectors of the boating industry around a shared message of safe boating. Grant funding will continue to support the Council, as well as fund a new component of the Council – a boating industry awards program to recognize and honor businesses who are promoting safe boating within their companies.

“It’s humbling to see so many influential members of the boating industry lock arms with one another through our Sober Skipper program,” Kulp added. “With the help of grants like these, we hope to do away with Boating Under the Influence for good.”

 

Tags:  2019-20  Grant  Life Jacket Loaner Program  Press Release  Sober Skipper Program  US Coast Guard 

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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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Navigation Resources

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Monday, December 14, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Navigation Resources

Navigation Rules establish a consistent way to navigate safely and avoid collisions when two boats are crossing paths, are on course to meet head-on, or when one boat wishes to overtake another.

The U.S. Aids to Navigation System is a system maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard, consisting of visual, audible, and electronic signals which are designed to assist the prudent mariner in the process of navigation. The aids to navigation system is not intended to identify every shoal or obstruction to navigation which exists in the navigable waters of the United States, but rather provides for reasonable marking of marine features as resources permit.

Keeping up to date with changes in navigation information is both important and easy.

Scan these links for more details.

• GPS Overview

• Take a Navigation Test

• USCG Navigation Center

• U.S. Charts

Tags:  2015-16  GPS  Navigation  Navigation Rules  US Coast Guard 

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