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Dos and Don’ts for Boating Safety and Social Distancing During COVID 19

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, March 27, 2020

Dos and Don’ts for Boating Safety and Social Distancing During COVID 19

Everyone’s life has changed as a result of the Coronavirus, but boating can still be a wonderful activity to participate in while practicing social distancing. The Sea Tow Foundation wants to encourage you to get out on the water and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, but we ask that you do it safely and legally. We’ve compiled a list of 10 Dos and Don’ts to help you plan a great day on the water.


1.       Do respect your state and local authorities. If a beach, boat ramp or marina is closed, please do not use it. If you don’t know the current regulations or restrictions for your boating area, you can contact your state boating agency and ask about access points and other important information. Your local Sea Tow captain can also be a great source of information as well.


2.       Don’t go boating if you or someone in your boating group is feeling sick or thinks they have been exposed to someone who is sick. Stay home and follow the CDC guidelines.


3.       Do go boating only with the people who are currently living with you. Do not invite your friends or extended family to join in during this time of social distancing.


4.       Don’t raft up with other boats while out on the water or spend time on the beach or at the dock in groups. Keep your boat and the people in your boat at least 6 feet away from other boats and people.


5.       Do continue to carry all of the required boating safety equipment including life jackets, flares, navigation lights, a horn or whistle, a first aid kit, and everything else on your pre-departure checklist.


6.       Don’t drink and boat. Continue to be or designate a Sober Skipper for all of your boating trips and remember that you can easily Take the Pledge to be the Sober Skipper on our website at


7.       Do pack your own lunch, drinks and snacks for your day on the water. Many restaurants and marina stores may not be open, so you want to make sure you have everything you need on board.


8.       Don’t forget to fuel up before going out on the boat. Fuel docks may not be in operation during this time, so you want to make sure your boat is fueled up and pay attention to the gas gauge during your trip so that you don’t run out.


9.       Do clean your boat after going out. This will not only prevent aquatic invasive species from hitchhiking on your boat, but also will ensure there is no trash or other items left lying around. Secure all valuables as well. With state and local regulations changing rapidly, you may not be able to easily return to your boat to take care of things later.


10.   Don’t forget to take photos of your day on the water and share them with us on social media @SeaTowFoundation on Facebook and Instagram.


Do you have any other tips to share? Let us know in the comments.

Tags:  Boating Safety  Coronavirus  COVID  Sober Skipper  Social Distancing 

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Sea Tow Foundation Launches Our Newly Redesigned Website

Posted By Gail Kulp, Thursday, March 12, 2020

Sea Tow Foundation Launches Our Newly Redesigned Website

We are excited to launch our newly redesigned website that is packed with information for recreational boaters to help keep family and friends safe on the water. The refreshed website also has resources for the marine industry to utilize in their promotions to reach out to their customers.

One of the amazing features of our new site, which is still found at, is that it is now completely functional and responsive on mobile and desktop versions allowing information to be easily found and shared related to our Life Jacket Loaner Program and our Sober Skipper program as well as plenty of other boating safety resources including our online shop, which now boasts plenty of printed materials and program supplies available for free or can be downloaded and printed at no charge at your home or office.

A favorite feature on our “Get Involved” page allows our supporters to interact with each other in ways we’ve never explored before which will provide an even greater value to the boating community nationwide, at no charge to them. Registration is free and you’ll not only receive access to our new newsletter, but also be able to join groups of dedicated people who are already working together to eliminate boating under the influence and reduce drowning incidents.

Our blog has been completely redesigned and is now easier to search for articles about boating safety classes, seasonal boating safety tips, being prepared for a day on the water, and so much more.

We hope you like the changes, and if you have any feedback, please let us know on Facebook and Instagram or click on the Contact Us link on our website.

Tags:  2019-20  boating safety  Life Jacket  Sea Tow  Sober Skipper  Website. 

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Thousands Learn Life Jacket Safety Lessons at Miami Boat Show

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, February 24, 2020

Thousands Learn Life Jacket Safety Lessons at Miami Boat Show

The Sea Tow Foundation has announced that more than 86,000 individuals visited this year’s Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show to see the new boats and boating gear and the Sea Tow Foundation made sure that the attendees received a quick course in the importance of wearing life jackets when on or around the water.

As a result of the show’s captive audience, tens of thousands of boating enthusiasts interacted with staff and volunteers from the Sea Tow Foundation, and nearly 500 of those decided to spend extra time learning more about life jackets. Additionally, 365 children borrowed life jackets for the day while they perused the docks and took part in the sea trials that were available.

For the 5th straight year, the Sea Tow Foundation hosted Life Jacket Loaner Stations at the show, which became the organization’s epicenter for education. All of the Foundation’s life jackets were made available from a generous donation from Onyx and the space for the life jacket loaner stations was provided by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). Volunteers from local schools, businesses and other organizations staffed the Life Jacket Loaner Stations and assisted the Sea Tow Foundation staff in fitting children with life jackets before they ventured onto the docks with their families.

In order to further promote the importance of life jacket use, the Sea Tow Foundation launched its first-ever Life Jacket Selfie Giveaway Contest at this year’s show. Through partnerships with NMMA, Onyx, FELL Marine, FishGillz, Navionics, Source4 and Formula Boats, the Sea Tow Foundation gave away five prize packs valued at $3,600 to  participants who took a selfie while wearing one of the Sea Tow Foundation life jackets at the boat show and posting that photo to social media using the hashtag #LifeJackets4theWin and tagging the Sea Tow Foundation. The contest saw more than 100 people participate in the five days that the contest was open and winners of the prize packs were randomly selected from the social media posts.

“Overall, this year’s Miami International Boat Show was our most successful yet,” said Gail R. Kulp, the Sea Tow Foundation’s executive director. “Not only were we able to interact with 100,000 attendees and teach nearly 500 individuals about life jacket use, we also engaged with countless numbers of boaters, both at the show and watching at home, through our inaugural life jacket selfie contest. We couldn’t be more thrilled with the way things turned out.”

The  Life Jacket Loaner Stations at this year’s boat show are part of the Sea Tow Foundation’s nationwide Life Jacket Loaner Program, which hosts more than 600 loaner stations across 43 states. The Sea Tow Foundation also offers other pop-up life jacket loaner stations at the Tampa, FL Boat Show and the Norwalk, CT Boat Show in addition to the stations featured at the Miami International Boat Show.


Tags:  2020  Boating Safety  Contest  Giveaway  Life Jacket Selfie  Press Release  Prizes 

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Life Jacket Selfie Contest to be held at Miami International Boat Show

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, February 10, 2020
Updated: Monday, February 24, 2020

Life Jacket Selfie Contest to be held at Miami International Boat Show

(Southold, NY) The Sea Tow Foundation has announced it will be launching a selfie giveaway contest at the 2020 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show that will help educate boat lovers of all ages on the importance of wearing life jackets. PRESS RELEASE

Through partnerships with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), Onyx Outdoor, FELL Marine, FishGillz, Navionics, Source4 and Formula Boats, the Sea Tow Foundation will be giving away five prize packages valued at $3,600 to Miami International Boat Show attendees and boaters watching from home.

To participate in the contest, the Sea Tow Foundation is asking Miami International Boat Show attendees to stop by its Life Jacket Loaner Stations located at piers 2 and 5 to try on an Onyx life jacket and take a selfie while wearing it in front of the station. Attendees are also welcome to borrow the life jackets to walk the docks and take them out on the water during the sea trails.

Those who are unable to attend the Miami International Boat Show can still enter to win by downloading and printing a graphic from the Sea Tow Foundation’s online store and taking a selfie with this print-out.

Contestants must then upload their photos to Facebook or Instagram, tag the Sea Tow Foundation @SeaTowFoundation, and use the hashtag #LifeJackets4theWin. One winner will be chosen at random each day of the show – February 14-17 – to win a prize pack with one additional winner being chosen from the at-home audience at the end of the week.

Each prize pack is valued at over $700 and includes:

  • An Impulse A-24 In-Sight Automatic Inflatable life jacket from Onyx Outdoor
  • FELL Marine’s MOB+ Wireless Man Overboard engine cutoff system
  • 4 Tickets to next year’s Miami International Boat Show, courtesy of NMMA
  • A pair of floating, polarized FishGillz Sunglasses
  • A duffel bag from Source 4
  • A Navionics Boating Charts App

The Sea Tow Foundation extends special thanks to Formula Boats for its generous donation that will be used to offset shipping costs of the prize packs to each of the winners.

Gail R. Kulp, the Sea Tow Foundation’s executive director, said it’s great to see so many within the boating industry rally behind the Sea Tow Foundation.

“We’re thrilled to have received so much support from our partners within the boating industry,” Kulp said. “Our giveaway contest will be a great way to get boaters’ attention and help continue to educate the public that boating can be safe and fun.”

The Sea Tow Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Stations available to Miami International Boat Show attendees are part of the Foundation’s nationwide Life Jacket Loaner Program, which hosts more than 600 stations on waterways throughout the country where boaters can borrow and return life jackets at no charge. In addition, the Sea Tow Foundation also operates the Sober Skipper Program, which encourages boaters to make the decision to be or to designate a drug and alcohol-free operator for their boats before every trip.

For a full list of contest rules and to see photos of the prizes, click here.




Tags:  2020  Boating Safety  Contest  Giveaway  Life Jacket Selfie  Press Release  Prizes 

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Sea Tow Foundation Blog: 5 Reasons Why Boating is Good for Your Heart

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, February 10, 2020
Updated: Monday, February 24, 2020

Sea Tow Foundation Blog 5 Reasons Why Boating is Good for Your Heart

February is American Heart Month and with Valentine's Day right around the corner, it’s time to give your heart a little extra love!

Luckily for you, boating is a great way to do just that! Don’t believe us? Check out the Sea Tow Foundation’s list below to see five reasons why boating is good for your heart:

  1. It relieves stress – Even the most inexperienced boaters know that stepping onto a boat can make all your everyday stresses disappear. Heading out to your local waterway with friends and family is a great way to relieve stress, sit back, and relax. When we’re near water, our heart and breathing slows, which is a plus for our bodies.
  2. It keeps you active – With so many of us spending most of the day sitting at a desk or in a vehicle commuting to and from work, boating is a great way to get outside and stay active. And you don’t have to be water skiing or wake boarding to stay active. Just getting out there and spending time in and around your boat is a great start to a healthier lifestyle!
  3. It brings you closer to nature – Boating is the perfect way to enjoy the great outdoors and everything Mother Nature has to offer. It allows you to get a unique perspective on local wildlife and see birds and fish and other animals that you may never see back ashore. Plus, there are all sorts of unique little wilderness areas that are only accessible by boat.
  4. It brings you closer to friends and family – Boating and family often go hand-in-hand. Getting out there and cruising the local waterways allows us to reconnect with loved ones and enjoy each other’s company. So, if you’ve been missing a close friend or family member, why not ask them to come out for a ride on the boat?
  5. It puts your heart at ease – To sum it all up, boating puts your heart at ease. Not only does it relieve stress, but for many of us, it puts us in our happy place. If you’re anything like us, there’s no place you’d rather be. Stress and anxiety can have such a drastic effect on heart health, so there’s no doubt that getting out on your boat can help give make you heart healthy.

This February get back out there on your boat! Trust us, your heart will thank you.

Photo by Jude Beck

Tags:  2020  boating safety  winter activity 

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Thank you for a great 2019!

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, December 30, 2019
Updated: Thursday, January 9, 2020

Thank you for a great 2019!

Whether you are a regular supporter of Sea Tow Foundation programs such as our Life Jacket Loaner Program or our Sober Skipper Program, or you are new to our nonprofit boating safety efforts nationwide, we want to take this opportunity to say thank you!

This year has seen major growth in the Sea Tow Foundation Programs. Our Sober Skipper program, which asks boaters to be or designate a sober skipper before leaving the dock, has seen an increase in the number of people taking the pledge in 51 states and territories and 94% of the states have seen a decrease in Boating Under the Influence accidents and fatalities as a result.

The Sea Tow Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Program now boasts 650 total life jacket loaner stations offered across 43 states at boat ramps, marinas, parks, fuel docks and community centers. And these life jackets have been credited with saving dozens of lives each year thanks to the boating safety supporters who help maintain our loaner stations around the country and ensure that the life jackets are available to the boating public.

To accomplish all of this, the Sea Tow Foundation has expanded its staff, increased its presence at boat shows, and made materials and resources available online in our new store to support the needs of the growing requests for our programs in our efforts to promote boating safety and education that directly reduces deaths, injuries, and property damage attributed to recreational boating.

Please consider making a year-end gift in any amount to help us continue our good work. All donations are tax-deductible and your support has lasting effect on every person borrowing a life jacket to prevent drowning or taking the pledge to be a Sober Skipper to eliminate Boating Under the Influence.

You can make a secure donation online at or you can mail a check to Sea Tow Foundation, P.O. Box 1325, Southold, NY 11971.


We thank you for being part of our progress!


Tags:  2020  boating safety  donations  life jacket loaner program  sober skipper program 

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Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Use Hits Records at NMMA Boat Shows

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, November 1, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Use Hits Records at NMMA Boat Shows

Thanks to Life Jacket Loaner Stations set up by the Sea Tow Foundation, more than 34,000 attendees at the NMMA-hosted 2019 Tampa and Norwalk Boat Shows left with a better understanding of the importance of life jacket use.

Through partnerships with the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Onyx, the Sea Tow Foundation set up two Life Jacket Loaner Stations at each of the boat shows and loaned out more than 400 life jackets across the two events, which were held in late September and late October.

The stations are part of the Sea Tow Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Program – which features more than 575 locations nationwide where boaters can borrow life jackets for free and return them at the end of their boating trip.

The Life Jacket Loaner Stations at the Norwalk and Tampa Boat Shows helped to ensure that life jackets were made available for children and adults visiting the shows as they perused the docks and toured the various boats and other exhibits on display at the shows.

Each Life Jacket Loaner Station was staffed by volunteers from several local organizations, as well as local Sea Tow members and other community volunteers. By the time the shows concluded, more than 54 volunteers offered up their time to help spread awareness on the importance of life jackets.

“It’s so great to see so many different people using our life jackets at these shows,” said Gail R. Kulp, executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation. “With each person who borrows a life jacket or sees our life jacket loaner stations, we’re able to help spread a vital message on the importance of life jackets and always having them any time you are in or around the water. These shows are such a great opportunity to help further our cause to ensure boating is safe and fun for everyone involved.”

Kulp added that the Foundation’s presence at the shows was especially beneficial to children and their families, as it provided a valuable learning experience for boaters of all ages.

“Children are required by law to always wear life jackets, so getting them familiar with them at these shows is a great service to boaters,” Kulp said. “Having the opportunity to show these young children, in particular, that life jacket use can be simple, easy and, most of all, fun has a profound impact on the boating community as a whole. We’re so thankful to be able to team up with our friends at NMMA to help spread these important messages at their shows.”

To learn more about the Sea Tow Foundation and its programs, or to find a Life Jacket Loaner Station near you, visit

Tags:  2019-20  Boating Safety  Life Jacket  Life Jacket Loaner Partnership  Life Jacket Loaner Station Grant  National Marine Manufacturers Association  News  Onyx Outdoor  Partner  Press Release  Vest Friends. Volunteers 

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Boat Handling Skills to Know

Posted By Gail Kulp, Thursday, August 1, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Boat Handling Skills to Know

Whether you are new to the boating community or have spent the majority of your life on the water, it is important to know some basic boat handling skills before operating a boat. This list of skills doesn’t take the place of on-water boating safety instruction but knowing how to do them correctly will allow you to maneuver your boat in any type of situation regardless of the wind or current, after a lot of practice.

Balance your Load

Before heading out on the water, it is important to balance the weight of the people and gear in the boat so that the boat can travel through the water with as little resistance as possible. If you are listing to the port side or if your bow is too far up in the air, it will be more difficult to steer and control the boat. You may find that you need to adjust the trim on your outboard engine as well to help balance things out.

Keep a Proper Look Out

Any time that you go boating, regardless of the speed, it is important to keep a proper look out. The boat operator needs to be aware of other boats and objects around the boat at all times, and look for ways to avoid collisions with them. It is often helpful to select one of your passengers to be your official look-out so that you can make sure that your full attention can be directed toward operating the boat.

Steering a Boat

The first thing to understand about operating a boat is that it steers from the stern, or the back of the boat. This means that a boat will need more room to turn in close quarters, like in a marina, and you will need to start your turn much earlier than you may otherwise have thought. Also, because boats don’t have brakes, it is critical to proceed at a slow speed when operating in close quarters. Often, you’ll find that you can perform most docking and departing situations at or just above an idle speed. Slow and steady is best.

Accounting for the Wind or Current

A boater needs to be aware of the wind speed and direction as well as whether there is a current. While the wind is often more noticeable because you can feel it and see flags or tree branches moving, the current can be more tricky to detect because it is underwater. Both can have a tremendous impact on your boat’s steering and maneuverability, and neither should be ignored. It is important to learn how to “hold station” or remain in one place regardless of the impact of wind or current so that you can maneuver your boat where you want it to go rather than where Mother Nature is trying to take it..

Docking the Boat

Knowing how to safely end your boating trip at the dock is often the most difficult boat handling skill to master. This is because no two docking maneuvers are the same. One day, you may be able to pull alongside a dock without difficulty while another day may be more challenging because of the number of other boats nearby and the small space available to maneuver. Plus, the previously mentioned wind or current can cause troubles. Visit the marina on a weekday in the morning when it will not be as busy to give you plenty of practice space and time without lots of other people around..

Bonus Tip: Always be or designate a sober skipper!

Operating a boat can be tricky even on a perfect weather day with the perfect crew but attempting to maneuver a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can have deadly consequences. If you are the operator of the boat, make sure you remain sober and alert at all times, otherwise, designate someone else to be the sober skipper to keep everyone safe. Take the Pledge today at

Tags:  2018-19  Boating Safety  Docking  Life Jacket  Sober Skipper  Steering 

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Free Automated Radio Checks are Available Year Round

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, May 17, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Free Automated Radio Checks are Available Year Round

Your VHF radio is your go-to communication device on the water, so you’ll want to make sure it’s working properly before you leave the dock. As you get ready for boating season during this year’s National Safe Boating Week, consider taking advantage of Sea Tow’s free Automated Radio Check Service. You can use it to check your radio year-round!

Sea Tow provides this free service to boating communities throughout the nation. In fact, it’s available not only to Sea Tow members, but to all boaters as a public service. It helps prevent boaters from using VHF Channel 16 for radio checks, as this is the international channel designed for urgent issues and emergencies.

Instead, by providing non-urgent channels for automated checks, boaters can ensure their radios are functioning properly without clogging Channel 16.

It’s simple to ensure your radio is functioning properly through an automated check. Just follow these three steps:

  1. Turn your radio to the appropriate channel based on your community: 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, or 84.
  2. Conduct a radio check as normal.
  3. When you release the mic, the system will replay your transmission back to let you hear how you sound.

And that’s it! To find out which channel applies to your community, check out our list here.

We hope you’ll use the Sea Tow Automated Radio Check Service all year long before every boating trip. Our goal is to ensure boaters are equipped with an effective communication channel while they’re out on the water. After all, you never know when you’ll lose signal on your cell phone. Your radio is always going to be the trustworthy option and is designed specifically for communication out on the water.

In addition, we’d like to extend a special thanks to our friends at Shakespeare Marine, who help make Sea Tow’s Automated Radio Check Service possible. We’re sure you already know Shakespeare as a leader for all things related to marine antennae, and we’re thankful for their commitment to help fund and support this important public service.


Tags:  2018-19  Automated Radio Check  Boating Safety  Education  National Safe Boating Week  Sea Tow  Sea Tow Services International  Tow Bee 

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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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