The purpose of National Safe Boating Week is to promote safe boating practices for recreational boaters, in an effort to reduce preventable accidents and deaths.
The Coast Guard encourages boaters to be safety conscious during the 2019 boating season and always wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while on the water. Other safety measures that can save your life are:
Wear a life jacket: Life jackets save lives. Accidents can leave even a strong swimmer injured, unconscious, or exhausted in the water. Boating safety advocates recommend that all boaters and passengers not only have a life jacket, but wear it at all times while boating.
Never boat under the influence (BUI): It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state. Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.
File a float plan: Leave a detailed float plan with a friend or family member who is staying back. The sooner a craft can be reported overdue, the more likely a positive outcome will result. For examples of a float plan, and for more information, visit www.floatplancentral.cgaux.org before you go.
Take a VHF-FM marine radio: VHF-channel 16 is the marine emergency channel. It should only be used for emergencies. Boaters can reach the Coast Guard on marine-band radios at any time, day or night.
Monitor weather broadcasts: Watch for current storm and small craft advisories. The National Weather Service broadcasts marine weather forecasts regularly. Forecasts can be heard by tuning in to channels 1 through 5 on a VHF marine radio or by checking the NWS website at www.weather.gov
Have a signaling device to communicate an emergency: Boaters should have signal flares, whistle, horn, or signal mirror, in addition to an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) to alert first responders to the location of a water emergency.
To view information related to boating safety provided by the U.S. Coast Guard's Boating Safety Division, please visit www.uscgboating.org
For additional information on recreational boating safety, including life jacket safety as a part of National Safe Boating Week, visit the National Safe Boating Council’s website: www.safeboatingcouncil.org
For a free vessel safety check, visit the Coast Guard Auxiliary website: www.cgaux.org