Memorial Day weekend boating safety tips

by Tim Flanagan on May 27, 2011

SEATTLE – As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, capsule the Thirteenth Coast Guard District would like to emphasize boating safety and remind Pacific Northwest boaters to make safety a priority to ensure they remain out of danger this summer while boating.

The Coast Guard will always reinforce boating safety with the following initiatives:

Wear a personal floatation device/life jacket at all times.  The law states you must have a PFD for every person on board, salve but the Coast Guard suggests you go one step further and wear your PFD at all times when boating.  It is much more difficult to locate, therapist access, or don a PFD at the moment the accident occurs.  CLICK HERE for more information on personal floatation devices/PFDs.

Take a paddler education course and participate in Operation Paddle Smart: a Coast Guard initiative which provides free water-proof stickers for labeling owner identification and contact information to small, paddle craft vessels.  An Operation Paddle Smart sticker can assist the Coast Guard when searching for the owner of a derelict or adrift paddle craft adrift, and can save hundreds of thousands of tax dollars per year searching for potential people in distress when there was no one in danger to begin with. CLICK HERE for more information on Operation Paddle Smart.

File a float plan and leave it with someone who is not recreating on the water.  A float plan is a lifesaving device on paper and can assist emergency responders with locating a distressed mariner.  CLICK HERE for more information on float plans.

Have a digital selective calling VHF marine band radio that complies with the latest requirements that incorporate many additional safety features and functions. CLICK HEREfor more information on DSC-equipped VHFs.

Have a visual signal or sound-producing devices to assist you if you are in distress.  CLICK HERE for more information on visual signals and sound-producing devices.

Have a registered 406MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon.  CLICK HERE to learn more about registering your EPIRB.

DO NOT boat under the influence of alcohol.  Alcohol affects judgment, vision, balance and coordination.  Factor in boat motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray and a drinker’s impairment is accelerated.  CLICK HERE for more information on boating under the influence.   

Start your voyage with a thorough boat inspection, including the hull and propulsion equipment. Pay particular attention to through-hull fittings and hoses that may have cracked or become brittle.

For additional boating safety tips, go to http://www.uscgboating.org/default.aspx .

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