Helpful Resources from the U.S. Coast Guard

DATE: May 6, 2011 10:34:13 AM PDT

News Release: USCG promotes safe boating as the Pacific Northwest kicks off the 2011 boating season

SEATTLE – As the Pacific Northwest prepares to kick off the 2011 boating season, the Thirteenth Coast Guard District is emphasizing boating safety and will be reminding Pacific Northwest boaters to make safety a priority to ensure they remain out of danger this summer while boating.

“There is no reason people should die having fun out on the water,” said Capt. Anne Ewalt, 13th Coast Guard District’s Chief of Staff. “We see too many deaths from people not wearing their lifejackets and from being exposed to the cold waters of the Northwest.”

In conjunction with the National Safe Boating Council’s “Wear it! Always wear your life jacket!” campaign, 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, 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, access, or don a PFD at the moment the accident occurs. Here is a link for more information on personal floatation devices/PFDs. http://www.uscgboating.org/safety/life_jacket_wear_wearing_your_life_jacket.aspx

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. Here is a link for more information on Operation Paddle Smart: http://www.d13publicaffairs.com/go/doc/21/928551/Media-Advisory-Coast-Guard-stresses-the-importance-of-Paddle-Smart-stickers-to-public-

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. Here is a link for more information on float plans: http://www.floatplancentral.org/

Have a digital selective calling VHF marine band radio that complies with the latest requirements that incorporate many additio safety features and functions. Here is a link for more information on DSC-equipped VHFs. http://www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov/nal

Have a visual signal or sound-producing devices to assist you if you are in distress. http://www.uscgboating.org/assets/1/workflow_staging/News/482.PDFHere is a link for more information on visual signals and sound-producing devices: http://www.boatus.org/onlinecourse/reviewpages/boatusf/project/info2f.htm

Have a registered 406MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. Here is a link to learn more about registering your EPIRB: http://www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov/

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. Here is a link for more information on boating under the influence: http://www.uscgboating.org/safety/boating_under_the_influence_initiatives.aspx

Start the season off right 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 over the winter.

The annual Special Notice to Mariners contains important information for the mariners in the Thirteenth Coast Guard District. The link to publication is http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/lnms/D13SpecialNotice2011.pdf.

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

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