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Sea Tow Foundation Announces Official Call for Entry for National Boating Industry Safety Awards

Posted By Gail Kulp, Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Updated: Friday, August 28, 2020

PRESS RELEASE

Sea Tow Foundation Announces Official Call for Entry for National Boating Industry Safety Awards

North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council Expands Recognition Program; Announces New Title Sponsorship from KICKER® Marine Audio

 

Southold, NY, September 3, 2020 – The Sea Tow Foundation in cooperation with its North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council, announced the official call for entry for its “National Boating Industry Safety Awards.”

The 2020 contest features an enhanced series of categories which recognize top boating safety programs and campaigns within the for-profit segment of the recreational marine industry. This year’s event includes 11 categories of entry, up from four the previous year.

“Due to the positive response from our inaugural contest in 2019, coupled with recommendations from our advisory council, we have nearly tripled the categories of entry in hopes of recognizing the outstanding work of many more boating safety advocates throughout all segments of the recreational marine industry,” said Sea Tow Foundation Executive Director Gail R. Kulp.

The 2020 National Boating Industry Safety Awards include the following categories for submission: Powerboat Manufacturer; Sailboat Manufacturer; Engine Manufacturer; Gear/Equipment Manufacturer; Human Powered (Canoe, Kayak, SUP) Manufacturer; Marine Retailer with up to 3 Locations; Marine Retailer with more than 3 Locations; Marine Media Outlets; Marine Marketing and Outreach; Marine Distributor; and a Multi-Year Campaign will also be available for any category.

Also new for 2020 is the title sponsorship from KICKER® Marine Audio, based in Stillwater, OK.

“KICKER Marine Audio is very pleased to contribute to this important effort that promotes boating safety within the recreational marine space,” said KICKER Marine Audio’s National Brand Manager Jeremy Bale. “The good work of leading marine organizations in educating and advancing boating safety messages benefits the entire industry, as well as boaters throughout the nation. KICKER is very proud to lend our support to this worthwhile and very important cause.”

“We appreciate the generous financial support of KICKER Marine Audio in helping to support our national awards program,” added Kulp. “We hope to continually build this program and involve many in the industry who share our passion and focus on boating safety.”

Entries may be submitted from September 3 through midnight, October 15, 2020 for any boating safety campaigns conducted between August 15, 2019 and August 15, 2020. A new multi-year category is also available to recognize ongoing boating safety programs and promotions.

Contest information and applications are available for download at www.boatingsafety.com/awards along with information and samples from the 2019 winners.

Winners for the 2020 awards contest will be announced live during the MRAA’s Dealer Week scheduled for December 8 – 11, 2020 in Austin, TX.

“We highly encourage all those organizations throughout the marine industry involved in promoting boating safety to apply in this year’s awards competition,” said Kulp. “The Sea Tow Foundation and our North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council, coupled with the title sponsor KICKER Marine Audio, are very pleased to shine the spotlight on the best boating safety efforts by companies in the for-profit segment of the recreational marine industry.” 

Tags:  boating industry  boating safety  kicker marine audio  national boating industry safety awards  North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council  press release  sober skipper 

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July 4th Safety Tips for Boaters Watching Fireworks Displays

Posted By Gail Kulp, Tuesday, June 30, 2020

July 4th Safety Tips for Boaters Watching Fireworks Displays

Over the long July 4th weekend, countless coastal and lakeside towns across the country mount fireworks displays, many of which will launch from the water. These exciting events draw hundreds of people, however with social distancing in effect right now, the best option to see these shows is to be on your boat for a “ring-side seat” for the show. Boating at night and in the smoke caused by the fireworks can prove challenging, so the Sea Tow Foundation has put together 7 safety tips for boaters watching a July 4th fireworks display from the water:

1.    Wear your life jacket! Make sure everyone onboard the boat is wearing either a traditional life jacket that fits properly, or an inflatable PFD. Navigating at night in smoky conditions can be just as dangerous as boating in stormy weather or in fog.

 

2.    Designate a Sober Skipper to stay at the helm all evening and be responsible for returning the boat and its passengers safely to shore after the fireworks display is over.

 

3.    Watch your weight. Don’t overload the boat with passengers. The number of seats available on board is not always the best indicator of capacity. Look for the boat’s capacity plate on the transom or by the helm, or look up the passenger capacity in the boat’s manual.

 

4.    Things look different at night. Remember that in the dark, visual navigation markers you rely on during the day may be invisible. Chart your route to your fireworks-viewing spot in advance and use GPS-enabled electronics to help you find it, if necessary.

 

5.    Listen Up! Follow the directions issued to boaters by U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary officials as to where you may safely anchor to view the fireworks away from sparks and ash.

 

6.    Relax and enjoy the show. Don’t be in a rush to get home; let some of the boat traffic clear out before you raise anchor after the fireworks display is over.



7.    Lights on. Don’t forget to check that your navigation lights are working and carry a couple of extra flashlights and batteries just in case. You don’t want to operate your boat in the dark.

 

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

 

Tags:  2019-20  boating safety  fireworks  holiday  july 4th  Life Jacket  night boating  Sober Skipper 

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Boating Safety Frequently Asked Questions

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Friday, May 29, 2020
Updated: Thursday, May 7, 2020

Boating Safety Frequently Asked Questions

The Sea Tow Foundation has assembled a list of answers to questions we hear most often. If the answer to your question is not listed here it may be in another post on our blog - try searching our blog for that topic. You can also ask your question in the comment section and we will be sure to add it.

 

How to Boat Safely and Socially Distance During COVID 19

A: 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. Click this link for details.

 

What life jackets are required to be carried on my recreational boat?

A: In general, Federal law requires that you must have a Coast Guard-approved, wearable life jacket that is in good and serviceable conditions and of the appropriate size for each person onboard your vessel. In addition, boats greater than 16 feet in length must carry a Coast Guard-approved throwable device (Type IV). A throwable device is not required on canoes or kayaks regardless of length. For more information on exemptions and the proper use of life jackets, click this link.

 

When should I wear my Life Jacket?

A: The USCG recommends wearing your life jacket at all times when the boat is underway.

 

What are the federal regulations for life jacket wear for children?

A: On a vessel that is underway, children under 13 years of age must wear an appropriate U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable life jacket unless they are below deck or within an enclosed cabin. If a state has established a child life jacket wear requirement that differs from the Coast Guard requirement, the state requirement will be applicable on waters subject to that state's jurisdiction. Contact your state boating authority for more information.

 

Am I required to carry a Life Jacket on my Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP).

A: Yes, when used beyond the narrow limits of a swimming, surfing or bathing area a SUP is considered a vessel and is required to carry a life jacket for everyone on board like any other boat.

 

Who can wear a Coast Guard-approved inflatable Life Jacket?

A: Inflatable life jackets are generally intended for persons over 80 lbs (39kg). To meet life jacket carriage requirements, the intended wearer must be over 16 years of age. See the life jacket’s label for more information.

 

Is my boating safety certificate valid to operate a boat in another state?

A: In most cases, yes. However, there are a few states that do not honor a certificate obtained outside of their state. Always check the state laws where you will be boating to ensure your current certificate will be accepted.

 

How do I dispose of expired pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals (VDS) or marine flares?

A: The disposal of expired pyrotechnic devices should be done in accordance with local county and state hazardous waste regulations. Please check with these local authorities to obtain the correct disposal procedures.

 

How do I register my Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) and Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or submit an updated registration form?

A: You can register online at this link.

 

What Visual Distress Signals must I carry on my boat?

A: Visual distress signals are required to be carried onboard vessels operating on the Great Lakes, High Seas, Territorial Seas and connecting waters seaward of a point where the width of the entrance exceeds 2 nautical miles, with certain exceptions. For more information on the types and quantities required and proper use of visual distress signals, click this link.

 

What is a Vessel Safety Check?

A: A Vessel Safety Check (VSC) is a courtesy examination of your boat (vessel) to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. The volunteer VSC examiner may also make recommendations and discuss safety issues that can make you a safer boater. No citations will be given if the boat does not pass. The examiner will supply you with a copy of the evaluation so that you may follow up with any recommendations. Vessels that pass the examination will be able to display the distinctive VSC decal. The decal does not exempt boaters from law enforcement boarding but indicates to boarding officers that the boat has been examined and found to be in compliance with safety equipment regulations. Vessel Examiner is a trained volunteer specialist and a member of either the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Power Squadrons, or in some cases state volunteer examiners.

 

When should I file a float plan?

A: You should complete a float plan and leave it with a responsible party each and every time you get underway.

 

When should I turn on or display my navigation lights?

A: Navigation lights are to be turned on or displayed from sunset to sunrise and when operating in or near areas of restricted visibility (e.g., fog, snow, and heavy rain).

 

Do I need a horn on my boat?

A: Navigation Rules require sound signals to be made under certain circumstances, such as meeting, crossing, and overtaking other vessels. Recreational vessels are also required to use sound signals during periods of reduced visibility and while at anchor. See A Boater's Guide to the Federal Requirements for Recreational Boats for the types of sound producing devices required for your specific vessel. A vessel of less than 39.4 feet (12 meters) must, at a minimum, have some means of making an efficient sound signal (i.e., handheld air horn, athletic whistle, installed horn, etc.). A human voice is not acceptable. A vessel 39.4 feet (12 meters) or greater must have a sound signaling appliance capable of producing an efficient sound signal, audible for a mile, with a 4- to 6-second duration.

 

Do you have any other questions? Try searching our blog or ask your question in the comments below.

Tags:  Frequently Asked Questions  Life Jacket  Sober Skipper 

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Sea Tow Foundation Appoints Seven New Members to North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council

Posted By Gail Kulp, Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Press Release

Sea Tow Foundation Appoints Seven New Members to North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council   

The Sea Tow Foundation has appointed seven new marine industry stakeholders to serve on its North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council which was established in 2019. This new slate joins a dozen inaugural council members and will collaborate on a variety of strategies and tactics to promote greater awareness and adoption of boating safety initiatives and messages both within the recreational marine industry and the boating consumer space.

 

“We couldn’t be more pleased about the overall composition and the depth of experience in our newly appointed council members,” said Sea Tow Foundation Executive Director Gail R. Kulp  “We were very impressed by the quality of the nominations and the resulting expanded representation that embraces new segments of the marine industry including insurance, podcasting, personal watercraft and sailing.”

 

New inductees were voted in by the North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council and will serve a two-year term beginning June 1, 2020. Appointees are listed below in alphabetical order:

 

·         Adam Fortier-Brown, Government Relations Manager, MRAA

·         TK Krumenacker, CEO, Admirals Insurance Corp

·         Tyler Mehrl, Category Manager/Steering and Controls, Mercury Marine

·         Mark Pillsbury, Editor, Cruising World Magazine 

·         Angie Scott, Podcast Host, The Woman Angler & Adventurer

·         Eric Shepard, Retired (30 years in the marine and aviation safety industries)

·         Leslie Zlotnick, Advertising Manager, Yamaha Watercraft Group

 

About the Sea Tow Foundation North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council

Launched in 2019, the North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council now includes 19 members representing multiple sectors of the recreational boating industry along with an executive task force. In its first year, the council organized and debuted its first National Boating Industry Safety Awards to recognize the outstanding work of recreational boating organizations in promoting boating safety. The council is actively engaged in supporting a variety of safe boating initiatives including the Sober Skipper Program which encourages boaters to be or to designate a Sober Skipper before leaving the dock. The ultimate goal of the Sober Skipper Program is to eliminate the number of boating accidents and deaths related to Boating Under the Influence on North American waterways.

 

For more information about the North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council, please visit: www.boatingsafety.com/nassac

 

To learn more about the Sea Tow Foundation’s Sober Skipper Program, please visit soberskipper.com.

Tags:  2019-20  Boating Safety  Boating Under the Influence  NASSAC  North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council  Sober Skipper 

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Sober Skippers Belong on Every Boating Trip

Posted By Gail Kulp, Saturday, May 16, 2020
Updated: Thursday, April 9, 2020

May 16 - Sober Skippers Belong on Every Boating Trip

A full day in the sun enjoying the open water is on the agenda. Your friends are invited and everything is ready to go, but first, before the day gets started, you need to know who is your sober skipper? Let’s make that plan now! 

Launched in 2015, the Sober Skipper program encourages boaters to be or to designate a sober skipper before every boating trip in an effort to eliminate accidents and deaths related to Boating Under the Influence (BUI). Sober Skippers are identified by wearing a yellow wristband indicating that the person has accepted the responsibility before the boat leaves the dock and that the Sober Skipper is a qualified, non-alcohol drinking operator in charge of the boat.

 Sober Skipper wristbands are free and can be requested online at www.soberskipper.com.

One of the biggest supporters of the Sea Tow Foundation’s Sober Skipper program has been Freedom Boat Club. Designed for folks who want to access a versatile fleet of boats on a regular basis, at an affordable cost of entry, Freedom Boat Club is part of 150 groups in 145 cities across 29 states. They collaborate with the Sea Tow Foundation to promote the Sober Skipper Program in each of their local communities.

The wind, vibration, noise, and the sun that you experience while boating can impair balance, coordination and concentration all on their own. Adding alcohol or drugs intensifies these effects. And since alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in boating accidents every year, it is critical to ensure that every boat has a Sober Skipper at the helm.

And in case you missed it, today’s letter is S.

Tags:  2019-20  Boating Safety  Freedom Boat Club  National Safe Boating Week  Sober Skipper 

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Boating Under the Influence & Life Jacket Age Reference State by State

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Thursday, April 30, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Boating Under the Influence & Life Jacket Age Reference State by State

Use this quick table for boating under the influence (BUI) limits, penalties, and life jacket age requirements from each state and territory in the United States.

The US Coast Guard requires properly fitting life jackets be readily accessible and within reach of all passengers on board, along with a throwable floatation device. The table below includes some requirements for life jackets on human-powered vessels such as kayaks, stand-up paddleboard or other similar craft however for specific details, please check with your state for more details.  

For children, the US Coast Guard requires that when a vessel is underway, children under 13 years of age must wear their life jacket. Exceptions are for when the children are below deck or within an enclosed cabin. To learn how to choose the correct children’s life jacket that fits properly, click this link. 

Information on this table includes a link back to its source for each state and boaters should check with the states where they intend to boat before heading out on the water to ensure that there have been no changes. The information in this chart will be reviewed annually by Sea Tow Foundation and updated as needed. The last review was completed in April 2020. 

We appreciate your comments and you can comment anytime at the end of this blog post.

 

 

 

STATE OR TERRITORY

BLOOD ALCOHOL LIMIT %

BUI PENALTY

LIFE JACKET AGE REQUIREMENT

Federal

n/a

n/a

Federal Law requires that when a vessel is underway, children under 13 years of age must wear their life jacket. Exceptions for when below deck or within an enclosed cabin. State laws may vary.

Alabama

.08

Large fines and/or jail time plus suspension of operator's certification.

All persons under eight (8) years of age, on any vessel, must, at all times, wear a U. S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device that must be strapped, snapped, or zipped securely in place; except, that no personal flotation device should be required when inside an enclosed cabin or enclosed sleeping space.

Alaska

.08

Driving under the influence and the penalties for conviction also apply to boat operators.

 

Persons under 13 must wear a life jacket when in an open boat, on the deck of a boat, or when being towed (i.e. tubing, waterskiing)

Arizona

.08

Th estate of Arizona's operating under the influence (OUI) law mirrors the states vehicular driving under the influence DUI laws and penalties.

All Vessels, including paddleboards and kayaks, must have at least one USCG-approved wearable life jacket for each person on board. The only exceptions are sailboards and certain racing shells. All children 12 years of aga and younger must wear a USCG-approved wearable life jacket while underway on the any vessel. the life jacket must be fastened according to the manufacturer’s recommended use and must fit the child properly.

Arkansas

.08

Upon a first conviction, a person will lose his or her driver's license for a period of 6 months. In addition, jail and fine may be included.

Children under 12 years old and younger must wear a USCG-approved PFD securely fastened to their person at all times while on any vessel. Except if the child is within the enclosed area of a houseboat or cruiser, or within the area enclosed by railing on a party barge, cruiser, or houseboat, and the vessel is not underway.

California

.08 or less

Operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is a misdemeanor and could carry a penalty of one year in the county jail, or a fine, or both.

No person may operate or give permission to operate a vessel sixteen feet or more in length unless at least one wearable personal flotation device is on board for each person, plus at least one throwable personal flotation device, which is immediately available. Under state law, it is an infraction, punishable by a fine of up to $250, to operate a vessel of any length unless every child under 13 years of age on board is wearing a Type I, II, III or V Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

Colorado

.08

It is a misdemeanor for any person to operate or be in actual physical control of a vessel in this state while Under the influence of alcohol; any controlled substance; any combination of alcohol and

any controlled substance.

requires all operators and passengers to wear U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets and requires operators to use a lanyard switch. children 12 years of age and younger are required to wear a PFD whenever their vessel is on the water, except when they are in an enclosed cabin or below deck.

Connecticut

.08

The penalty for a first violation may be: a fine; suspension of boating privileges, jail, probation, and or hours community service

Be worn by children under 13 years old on any vessel that is underway unless the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin. Be worn by anyone in a manually propelled vessel from October 1 through May 31.

Delaware

.08

Fines, imprisoned, or both.

Every operator of a recreational boat shall be responsible for providing for the protection of any child 12 years of age or under by having any such child who is aboard a recreational boat upon the waters of this State, properly wear a Type I, II, III or V Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device which is in good serviceable condition and of the proper size. This section shall not apply to any child who is below deck or in an enclosed cabin or while said recreational boat is anchored or moored.

Florida

.08

A person is guilty of the offense of boating under the influence is subject to fines, imprisonment, or both.

A person may not operate a vessel less than 26 feet in length on the waters of this state unless every person under 6 years of age on board the vessel is wearing a personal flotation device currently approved by the United States Coast Guard and used in accordance with the United States Coast Guard approval label while such vessel is underway. For the purpose of this section, “underway” means at all times except when a vessel is anchored, moored, made fast to the shore, or aground.

Georgia

.08

Those arrested for boating under the influence may lose their privilege to operate a boat or PWC until they successfully complete a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program; and will also be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by fines and/or prison time.

All vessels must have a least one US Coast Guard USCG-approved Type I, II, III, or V person flotation device (PFD), sometimes called life jacket, for each person on board. Type V PFDs are acceptable only when worn and securely fastened. Children under 13 years old are required to wear a USCG-approved PFD while on board any moving vessel. Except if the child is in a fully enclosed cabin.

Hawaii

.08

Violations may be subject to fines and fees.

Children 12 years of age and under must wear a personal flotation device (PFD) while aboard a vessel operating or anchored offshore.

Idaho

.08

BUI is a misdemeanor and can include time in jail and/or a fine; and to attend and successfully complete a course on safe boating.

Children 14 and under must wear an approved life jacket when they are aboard a boat 19 feet in length or less whenever the boat is underway or under power. This applies to manually propelled boats such as canoes and rafts in addition to powerboats, sailboats, personal watercraft (jet skis) and fishing float tubes.

Illinois

.08

operating under the influence (OUI) is a Class “A” misdemeanor and can included jail and fines.

All vessels must have at least one U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)–approved wearable personal flotation device (PFD), sometimes called life jacket, for each person on board or being towed. All vessels 16 feet or longer, except canoes and kayaks, also must carry one USCG–approved throwable PFD. All children under the age of 13 must wear a PFD on vessels less than 26 feet in length when underway, unless they are below decks in an enclosed cabin or on a vessel operating on private property.

Indiana

.08

A first offense may lose all their driving privileges (motorized boat and motor vehicle), penalties and fines.

Children under 13 years of age are required to wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket when underway on any boat.

Iowa

.08

Boating under the influence violations will be subject to fines,

Imprisonment, and a loss of operating privileges.

 

A person shall not operate a vessel in Iowa unless every person on board the vessel who is age 12 and under is wearing a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket. A life jacket must be worn when the vessel is underway, which means when a vessel is not at anchor, tied to a dock or the bank/shore or aground.

A child age 12 and under in an enclosed cabin, below deck, or aboard a commercial vessel with a capacity of 25 persons or more is exempt.

 

Kansas

.08

Violations can include imprisonment, a fine or both.

Anyone12 years old and youngermust wear a life jacket at all times when on board a boat or being towed behind the boat on skis or a tube.

Kentucky

.08

Under the influence of any substance that impairs the operator’s driving ability may be subject to fines and possible jail time.

Persons under 12 years of age must wear a PFD while in the open part of a boat that is under way.

Louisiana

.08

Penalties include suspension or revocation of boating privileges and driver's license.

Children 16 years of age and younger are required to wear a USCG-approved PFD while underway on a vessel less than 26 feet long.

Maine

.08

Penalties include fine, imprisonment, or both.

Children 10 years of age and younger are required to wear a USCG-approved PFD at all times while on board a watercraft unless the watercraft is docked, anchored, or moored.

Maryland

.08

Violators subject to misdemeanor, fine, imprisonment, or both.

 

All children under the age of 13 must WEAR a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket (Type I, II, III or V) while underway on a recreational vessel under 21 feet in length on Maryland waters.

Massachusetts

.08

Penalties include the loss of a motor vehicle driver's license.

Life preservers are required to be worn by: (1) youth less than 12 years of age (2) personal watercraft users (3) waterskiers (4) canoeists/kayakers from September 15 - May 15.

Michigan

.08

Boating under the influence violators are guilty of a misdemeanor, and or a felony.

All children under 6 years of age to wear a USCG–approved Type I or II PFD when riding on the open deck of any vessel while underway.

Minnesota

.08

Violator subject to fines, fees, jail time, loss of boating privileges, and felony charges.

Children under 10 years old are required to wear a properly fitted life jacket while a boat in underway.

Mississippi

.08

Fines, or imprisonment, and violator must complete a boating safety course.

Anyone 12 years and younger must wear a Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device at all times while the vessel is underway.

Missouri

.08

A person commits the offense of boating while intoxicated if he or she operates a vessel while in an intoxicated condition. The offense of boating while intoxicated is a class B misdemeanor.

Each person under the age of seven who is on board any watercraft shall wear a personal flotation device which is approved by the United States Coast Guard. This law does not apply when the person under the age of seven is in a part of a watercraft which is fully enclosed, where such enclosure will prevent such person from falling out of or being thrown from the watercraft.

Montana

.08 and less

Subject to a fine or jail or both.

Children under 12 years of age must wear a life jacket on a boat less than 26 feet in length that is in motion.

Nebraska

.08

Subject to a fine, or jail, the loss of boating privileges, and to attend an alcoholism treatment program.

No child under 13 is allowed aboard any vessel when not wearing a Coast Guard-approved life preserver except when hunting waterfowl in an anchored boat. Operators shall be held responsible.

Nevada

.08

Subject to a fine, or jail, felony charges.

Children under age 13.

New Hampshire

.08

Subject to class B misdemeanor, fines, boating privilege suspension, driver’s license suspension, anignition interlock device (IID), and or Impaired Driver Care Management Program.

All children age 12 or under must wear an approved vest or jacket.

New Jersey

.08

Subject to fine, loss of the privilege to operate a vessel, forfeiture of your driver’s license.

Any child 12 years of age or younger must WEAR a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD whenever the vessel is underway. If the child is inside a fully enclosed cabin that is a permanent, non-removable part of the vessel that is designed to carry passengers, then the child is not required to wear the PFD.

New Mexico

.08

Subject to jail, fines, boating safety course.

A child age twelve or under who is aboard the vessel to wear a personal flotation device approved by the United States Coast Guard while the vessel is underway, unless the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin."

New York

.08

Subject to fines, imprisonment, suspension of operator privileges.

Children under the age of 12 aboard pleasure vessels les than 65 feet in length, canoes, kayaks, or rowboats, unless in a totally enclosed cabin. Pleasure vessels less than 21 feet in length from November 1 to May 1.

North Carolina

.08

Subject to class 2 misdemeanors, a fine and or jail.

No person may use a recreational vessel unless each child under 13 years old on board is wearing an appropriate PFD approved by the Coast Guard unless: Each child not wearing such a PFD is below decks or in an enclosed cabin. The vessel is not underway. (Vessels that are anchored or tied to shore are not underway.) This new law does not apply to commercial vessels.

North Dakota

.10

Subject to operator privileges may be revoked in addition to other penalties.

All persons 10 years of age or younger present on the vessel, wear an appropriately sized and properly fastened U.S. Coast Guard approved type I, II or III wearable personal flotation device while the vessel is in operation.

Ohio

.08

Fine and or jail.

Any child less than 10 years of age must wear a properly fitted life jacket.

Oklahoma

.08

A fine.

Children under 13 years of age must wear a PFD whenever underway on a vessel less than 26 feet in length.

Oregon

.08

Losing boat privileges and fines.

All children under 13 are required to wear a life jacket on boats less than 19 feet in length, unless in a fully enclosed area.

Pennsylvania

.02

Penalties include loss of boating privileges, significant fines and imprisonment.

Children 12 years of age and younger on Commonwealth waters when underway on any boat 20 feet or less in length and in all canoes and kayaks.

Rhode Island

.08

Fines, fees, possible jail time, loss of operating privileges, and attendance at a boating safety course.

A child under 13 years of age in a recreational vessel less than 65 feet (19.8 meters) in length on the waters of this state shall require that the child wear a wearable PFD approved by the U.S. Coast Guard while underway, unless below deck in a closed cabin.

South Carolina

.08 and less

Subject to a fine, jail, community service, imprisonment, and suspension of boating privilege.

Persons under the age of 12 must wear one at all times on vessels 16 feet in length or shorter.

South Dakota

.08

Subject to aclass 1 misdemeanor, fine, and or jail.

Children on board under seven years of age is wearing as US Coast Guard approved PFD unless the chide is within a cable or below deck.

Tennessee

.08

A fine, jail, loosing operating privileges.

Children 12 years of age and younger must wear a USCG-approved PFD at all times while on the open deck of a recreational vessel that is not anchored, moored, or aground.

Texas

.08

Fines and or jail.

Children under 13 years of age in or on vessels under 26 feet must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable PFD while underway.

Utah

.08 and less

(BUI) is the same as driving under the influence (DUI) and has the same penalties including suspension of driver license, possible jail time and fines.

Passengers, 12-years-old and younger must wear a properly sized coast guard approved life jacket whenever a boat is in operation.

Vermont

.08 and less

Subject to fines, jail time, or both; loss of operating privileges; and completion of an alcohol program.

All boaters under the age of 12 must wear an approved U.S. Coast Guard Type I, II or III life jacket while underway on an open deck of any vessel. A person under 16 years of age a board a sailboard must be wearing a Type I, II, or III U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device.

Virginia

.08

Fines, and or jail time, loss of operating privileges, attendance at an alcohol safety program

any child under age 13 on the vessel unless each child is either: Wearing an appropriate life jacket approved by the Coast Guard; or

Below deck or in an enclosed cabin.

 

Washington

.08

Fine and jail.

Children ages 12 years and younger to wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket or vest on vessels less than 19 feet long.

West Virginia

.08 and less

Subject to a misdemeanor and may receive a fine and time in jail,

Children that are 12 years of age and under are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while on the deck of any boat that is underway.

Wisconsin

.08

Fine and or time in jail, and possible completion of a boating safety course

Children under the age of 13 to wear a USCG-approved PFD while underway in an open vessel.

Wyoming

.10

Subject to a misdemeanor, time in jail, suspended boater’s operating privileges.

Children 12 years of age and under are required to wear a life jacket while the watercraft is underway.

Washington District of Columbia

.08

Fine and or time in jail.

Required when a vessel is underway, children under 13 years of age must wear their life jacket. Exceptions for when below deck or within an enclosed cabin. State laws may vary.

American Samoa Territory

.08

Revocation of motorboat license.

Children 13 years of age and under are required to wear a life jacket while the watercraft is underway.

Guam Territory

.08

Revocation of motorboat license.

Children 13 years of age and under are required to wear a life jacket while the watercraft is underway.

Northern Mariana Islands Territory

n/a

n/a

n/a

Puerto Rico Territory

n/a

n/a

Any child under 12 in a vessel while moving. All users of a PWC.

US Virgin Islands Territory

n/a

n/a

n/a

 

Tags:  boating safety  Boating Under the Influence  life jacket  Life Jacket Age Requirement  Sober Skipper 

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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 www.soberskipper.com.

 

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 and socal distancing  Boating Safety  Coronavirus  COVID  COVID 19 boating  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 boatingsafety.com, 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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Spring Break Boating Safety Tips

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, March 9, 2020

Spring Break Boating Safety Tips

Spring is here which means it is time for that epic spring break trip that you’ve had planned for months! Warm weather, sunny skies, and fun with friends or family members on the boat are just days away, but before you pack those bags and head out on your spring break trip, the Sea Tow Foundation has some tips to help you have a safe AND fun spring break trip.

1.    Take a Boating Safety Class Now. Many states or other countries require a boating license or for the boater to at least take a boating safety class before renting a boat or putting your boat in their waters. Whether you’re a new boat owner or have years of experience, you’ll pick up some pointers and boost your marine confidence as well as satisfy requirements for boaters in that particular location. Courses are offered online or in person through our friends at the USCG Auxiliary or the America’s Boating Club.

2.    Ask for Advice. Spring break trips often involve traveling to new and exciting destinations. If you are unfamiliar with the bay, lake, river or ocean you’re headed to—especially on vacation—it’s smart to talk to locals. Sea Tow captains in the area will happily share water conditions, current patterns, routes and (bonus!) wildlife watching tips.

3.    Pack the sunscreen. If you’re not used to the sun and warmer temperatures or with being outdoors for a good portion of the day, you will soon by surprised by a nasty sunburn. Put on some sunscreen and don’t forget a hat and sunglasses, too.

4.    Reserve now. If you are planning to rent a boat during spring break, make sure you’ve got the rental confirmed well in advance of your trip and reach out to the company ahead of time to see if you need to bring anything for the boat with you. They should provide you with an orientation to your rental boat as well as all of the safety equipment required. If you are taking your own boat on spring break, make sure your boat trailer is ready to roll and that you know the boat ramp locations as well as where you can park your vehicle and trailer while you’re out on the water.

5.    Once you get to your trip, follow the ABCD rule.

 

a.    Always Wear Life Jackets. Every passenger should wear a properly fitted U.S Coast Guard (USCG)-approved life jacket. And remember that adult-size life jackets aren’t meant for children. If you’ve forgotten to pack your own or need extras, you can always stop by a Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Station to borrow them for the day.

b.    Bring along safety gear. Emergency preparation = peace of mind. No matter the size of your boat, these are the absolute essentials to keep on board:

  •                         Marine VHF radio
  •                         First aid kit
  •                         Fire extinguisher
  •                         Tool kit
  •                         Flashlight and extra batteries
  •                         Duct tape
  •                         Bucket
  •                         Waterproof whistle or horn
  •                         Lines
  •                        Signaling mirror

c.     Check—and Recheck—the Weather. Choppy waters can’t always be predicted. If conditions aren’t favorable, don’t chance it. There are many apps and websites that help you know the conditions before you go. One of our favorite tide and weather apps can be found at Windfinder.com.

d.    Designate a Sober Skipper. Never, ever operate a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The wind, sun and boat vibration all contribute to increased impairment, even after a single beer. Responsible boaters carry plenty of water, non-alcoholic drinks and food on board. To learn more check out our  Sober Skipper program.

6.    Share Your Trip to Social. Did your spring break boating trip really happen if you didn’t document it? Be sure to tag us in all your photos and adventures on Instagram (@seatowfoundation) and Facebook (@SeaTowFoundation)

 

Have a fantastically fun and super safe spring break!

 

Tags:  2019-20  Boating Safety Course  Fire Extinguisher  Float Plan  Life Jacket  Sober Skipper  spring break  Weather 

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5 New Year’s Boating Resolutions for a Safe and Fun 2020

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Thursday, December 26, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2020

5 New Year’s Boating Resolutions for a Safe and Fun 2020

With the holidays behind us, it’s officially time to turn over a new leaf in the new year. That’s right, 2020 is finally here.

They say hindsight is 20/20, but now is your chance to give 2020 some foresight, too. If you’re looking for some boating-related New Year’s resolutions, look no further than the list below:

Spend more time on the water – This is one New Year’s resolution that should be on every boaters’ list. If you’re anything like us, there’s no such thing as too much time spent at the helm of your vessel. So, for 2020, pledge to take more time out on your favorite waterways. Trust us, your mental health will thank you!

Wear your life jacket while underway–It’s the law to have enough wearable life jackets for everyone on board your boat in the correct sizes for each person and the U.S .Coast Guard requires that children under age 13 wear their life jackets at all times when underway. This year, we challenge you to have everyone on board WEAR their life jackets Not only does this set a good example for the kids by having the adults wear their life jackets, but it things go south and you find yourself in a boating emergency, it could be the difference between a slight inconvenience and disaster. And with the new inflatable life jacket models available from our friends at Onyx, you can have a life jacket on and never feel like it gets in your way. If you don’t happen to have a life jacket for all your passengers, you can always stop by one of our 550+ Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Stations and borrow one for the day for free! Click here to find the location nearest you.

Check your VHF radio before every trip – This is another easy resolution to check off the list. Having a working VHF radio is an essential piece to the boating safety puzzle, so make sure yours is working properly before you leave the dock.

Designate a Sober Skipper – Did you know that alcohol is the leading cause of boating accidents? Just like driving a car, alcohol can impair your ability to operate your vessel, and the sun, waves and other boating-specific attributes can lead to impairment much faster than you think. That’s why it’s vital that you and your loved ones designate a Sober Skipper each and every time you leave the dock. You can even join us by taking the Sober Skipper pledge by clicking here.

Take a boating safety course – Want to learn something new and expand your boating horizons in 2020? Then why not take a boating safety course? Boating safety courses aren’t just for novice or beginner boaters, either. Whether you’re heading out to the dock for the first time or have been boating for years, there’s always something new to learn. Our friends at America’s Boating Club have all sorts of great courses to help enhance your boating knowledge and completing a course will often provide you with a discount on your boat owner’s insurance. Click here to check out all of their educational offerings.

Do you have any other boating resolutions you’re planning on achieving in 2020? Share yours in the comments below

Tags:  2019-20  Americas Boating Club  Automated Radio Check  Life Jacket Loaner Station Grant  Onyx Outdoor  Sober Skipper  VHF Radio 

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