Leading into Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial launch of recreational boating season, U.S. Coast Guard officials along the West Coast are asking mariners to be mindful of boating safety.
“Boating continues to be a relatively safe activity, but education is key,” Coast Guard District 11 Recreational Boating Safety Specialist Doug Leavell stated.
He is encouraging anyone who has not attended a boating education course through the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the U.S. Power Squadron or other organizations.
“Before you share the waterways, learn your responsibilities toward others on the water. Learn before you go out,” Leavell said.
This year, there’s been an emphasis on educating mariners on the new labeling of personal flotation devices, which will now have labels with “performance level, turn ability and warnings,” according to the USCG. Also, disposable fire extinguishers now require a 12-year expiration date from manufacture date and there’s new legislation that now requires the use of engine cut-off switches.
USCG also suggests that mariners always wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket that’s properly fitted; be familiar with a VHF radio and make it the primary means to communicate in case of an emergency; perform a vessel safety check and file a float plan; and attach a working emergency position indicating radio beacon to their vessel or a personal locator beacon on life jackets. These should be registered with owner info and emergency contacts.
More tips are available at https://uscgboating.org/mobile/.