Summer Safety Tips
Now that the summer boating season has arrived, the pros at Sea Tow have issued the following helpful safety reminders.
Before you push off from the dock, remember to:
- Check your vessel: The list of required onboard safety equipment includes everything from an anchor and a fire extinguisher to lifejackets for all passengers. Make sure you’re in compliance. The Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadrons offer free Vessel Safety Checks to help you review the list and avoid a ticket and fine.
- File a float plan: Never go boating without letting someone know where you are going and when you’ll return. If you don’t return on time, your emergency contact can notify the authorities to begin a search. A free PDF float plan document can be downloaded from the Coast Guard at Float Plan Central .
- Designate a sober skipper: Boat operators must be clear-headed and able to make quick decisions to avoid collisions and other dangerous situations. Consuming alcohol or taking drugs, even some over-the-counter or prescription medicines, can decrease reaction time and the ability to think clearly.
- Wear a lifejacket: The Sea Tow Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that lifejackets are available to boaters who need them. Over the past 3 years, 12,000 lifejackets have been provided to recreational boaters by Sea Tow captains through the Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Program. Contact your local Sea Tow office to find loaner stations near you.
- Take a boating-safety course: Whether this is your first summer on the water or you’ve been boating your entire life, make sure you’re aware of all current boating regulations and the rules of navigation. One of the best ways to do this is by taking a boating-safety course. Traditional classroom courses are available through a variety of sources, including state boating agencies, U.S. Power Squadrons, local marine dealers or other organizations. Find an approved course near you at NASBLA, or, if your schedule is tight, try online courses like those found at BOATERexam.
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