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Visiting a boating museum can be a fun winter activity

Posted By Gail Kulp, Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Visiting a boating museum can be a fun winter activity

Winter in the northern states can be a tough time of year for boaters. With the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures, it is not ideal to spend time on a boat, but that doesn’t mean that all boating activities have to end. And, even in a warmer weather state, a bad weather day can still ruin plans for a boating trip. On days like that, take a trip to a local boating museum near you!

The Sea Tow Foundation staff had the chance to visit the Finger Lakes Boating Museum this winter. Located in Hammondsport, NY just a couple of hours from Buffalo, Rochester or Syracuse, this museum focuses on the education and preservation of the boating activities and boat building heritage of the Finger Lakes region.

Sea Tow Foundation's Michael Wesolowski and Gail Kulp met with Andrew Tompkins at the Finger Lakes Boating Museum.

The Finger Lakes Boating Museum has over 200 boats on display representing over 40 commercial builders who built boats in the region within the last century. The museum’s campus is the site of the former Taylor Wine Company and includes 19 buildings across 14 acres. While the museum exhibits currently occupy the main building, plans are underway to renovate and move into additional buildings over the coming years to expand the boats on display.

Andrew Tompkins, Executive Director, provided the Sea Tow Foundation with a personal tour and showed off just some of the hundreds of canoes, rowboats, inboards, runabouts and sailboats on display as well as the enormous mural on display downstairs. Andrew noted, “The Finger Lakes Boating Museum sees over 5,000 visitors each year from around the country and we also host a number of school field trips as well.”

So if being on the water is not an option because of the weather, look into visiting a local boating museum like the Sea Tow Foundation staff did this winter. You’re guaranteed to have a good time and you may even learn something!

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Tags:  Behind the Scenes  Partner Stories  Weather  Winter 

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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.


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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Be Sure to Wear Your Life Jacket This Winter

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, November 2, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 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:  2018-19  Cold Weather  Life Jacket Loaner Program  Life Jacket Wear Policies  States  Winter 

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