Coast Guard kicks off National Safe Boating Week in Annapolis, Md.

 

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron offer vessel owners free, no-fault safety-inspections.  Vessel-safety check stickers are placed on the vessel after the it successfully passes a safety check, however, the sticker does not exempt the vessel from future safety checks or boardings.  Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Masaschi.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron offer vessel owners free, no-fault safety-inspections. Vessel-safety check stickers are placed on the vessel after the it successfully passes a safety check, however, the sticker does not exempt the vessel from future safety checks or boardings. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Masaschi.

Post written by PA3 Matt Masaschi

Members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Maryland Natural Resources Police and the U.S. Power Squadrons sponsored a National Safe Boating Week kickoff event Saturday at the Annapolis City Dock in Annapolis, Md.

The event included several informational booths and interactive displays to ensure mariners are thinking safety and situational preparedness prior to embarking.

The various displays emphasized several safety criteria including the importance of having acceptable and accessible personal floatation devices aboard, understanding the navigational rules of the water, filing float plans and always checking weather forecasts.

Vessel identification stickers are used to locate the owners of small crafts, such as kayaks, canoes and rowboats, when the vessels get lost or loose from their moorings.  An owner should use a water-resistant grease pen to write his or her contact information on the sticker and adhere it to the side of the vessel.  Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Masaschi.

Vessel identification stickers are used to locate the owners of small crafts, such as kayaks, canoes and rowboats, when the vessels get lost or loose from their moorings. An owner should use a water-resistant grease pen to write his or her contact information on the sticker and adhere it to the side of the vessel. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Masaschi.

Certified vessel examiners with the U.S. Power Squadrons and the Coast Guard Auxiliary were on hand performing courtesy Vessel Safety Checks for those who had a boat nearby and informed other boaters where to go online to schedule a no-fault VSC at their convenience.

 “It’s very important to get your vessel, including paddle craft and personal watercraft, checked each year to ensure it is in compliance and to make sure your vessel has adequate personal floatation devices aboard and they are easily accessible,” said Bill Thorne, a Flotilla Safety Officer with the Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 24-8 in Gaithersburg, Md. “It’s just as critical to check that your safety items, such as fire extinguishers and signal flares, have not expired.”

Thorne cites other common causes for a vessel to fail a safety check include improper vessel identification sticker size and placement.

“If the Coast Guard can’t read your numbers from across the water because they are too bunched up or the size of the numbers are less than 4-inches tall your vessel will not pass our inspection,” said Thorne.

Thorne shared with boaters some critical considerations and guidelines to consider when towing trailered boats. He highlighted vital vehicle capabilities and requirements to identify when coupling a vehicle with a trailered boat.

Thorne urged paddle-craft operators to always don a personal floatation device, wear highly visible clothing and to ensure they have adequate day and nighttime distress signaling devices. Thorne encouraged paddle-craft operators to complete a Vessel Identification Sticker for their kayak, rowboat, canoe or paddleboard and affix the sticker in an easy-to-spot place on the vessel. These stickers are a quick way to attempt to contact the owner should their vessel be found adrift.

The partner agencies provided a plethora of literature on a range of subjects and informed boaters of the available boater-safety courses that are offered online and in classroom formats with the goal to achieve a safer boating community.

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