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Check Boat Safety Equipment Before Leaving Shore

With the opening of northern pike, walleye and pickerel season on May 1st, the Coast Guard Auxiliary is encouraging all boaters to check their safety equipment before launching their boat. Life jackets (PFD) stored during the winter season should be checked for tears, broken buckles or straps. Writing a contact phone number on the inside of the PFD can allow emergency responders to quickly determine if someone is in distress or help get a lost life jacket back to you. Remember, one properly fitted life jacket is required for each person on board. The Coast Guard Auxiliary encourages all boaters to always wear a life jacket while boating and is required for all boaters under 12 years of age Check the registration expiration date and for proper operating lights on both on your boat and trailer. All emergency flares have an expiration date printed on them and should be replaced if expired or damaged. The gauge on fire extinguishers should be checked to ensure internal pressure is still sufficient to discharge the extinguishing powder. Check for proper operation of the emergency cutoff switch on boat and personal watercraft motors. Remember, as of April 1, 2021 use of the safety cutoff switch and lanyard is required by Coast Guard regulations for all power vessels less than 26 feet in length with an engine of 3 HP or more. If equipped, check the horn for proper operation. The ventilation fan on a boat with an enclosed engine compartment should be checked for proper operation and air flow. The backfire flame control equipment should be clean and properly mounted on the engine Boaters need to remember that water temperatures are still dangerously cold. It only takes about 10 minutes for a boater exposed to cold water to begin to experience deteriorated strength. This may cause boaters to lose the ability to pull themselves back onto their vessel. It is important when boating in waters at these temperatures to avoid boating alone and remember to dress for the water temperature, not for the air temperature. Also, be mindful that children and smaller adults will succumb more rapidly to exposure to cold water. Provide a float plan to someone reliable remaining ashore to include your route, destination, number of people aboard, a description of your vessel, and the estimated time of return. Ask them to contact the Coast Guard if a trip has gone beyond the return time indicated. A cell phone or marine radio should be aboard so a contact can be made if your vessel becomes disabled. With the proper precautions you can insure a safe boating experience for yourself and your guest! The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard in nearly all mission areas. The Auxiliary was created by Congress in 1939. For more information, please visit www.cgaux.org


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