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17th District Alaska Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard

News Release

May 16, 2013


Contact: Lt. j.g. Victoria Swinghamer

Email: Victoria.J.Swinghamer@uscg.mil

Office: (907) 428-4174

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage reminds Western Alaska boaters to be prepared for trips at sea

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Coast Guard Sector Anchorage is encouraging boaters to make safety planning a priority during the upcoming summer boating season, as part of their preparations for the kick off of National Safe Boating Week.

National Safe Boating Week is organized by the National Safe Boating Council with many partner agencies in the U.S. and Canada, including the Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Power Squadrons, BoatUS, the American Canoe Association, and local groups to encourage safe boating practices and educate the public timed to coincide with Memorial Day weekend, one of the biggest recreational boating weekends of the year.

In 2012, 45 percent of the Coast Guard’s Western Alaska search and rescue caseload centered on mishaps that could have been prevented if mariners had been properly prepared before heading out on the water.

"Boating, whether recreational or commercial is one of the great perks of living in Alaska and the Coast Guard urges all mariners to plan ahead and prepare themselves for any eventuality,” said Cmdr. Adam Tyndale, chief of response at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. “In this extreme environment the unexpected can happen at any moment despite one's level of experience. Fortune favors the prepared."

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage encourages all boaters in Western Alaska to be boating stars and remember the following five safety tips before heading out on the water:

- Be sure to have Coast Guard approved life jackets aboard your vessel and wear them. All boaters and paddlers are encouraged to wear their life jackets while underway. Alaska state law requires children 13 years of age and younger to wear a life jacket while out on the water. Kids Don’t Float loaner boxes exist at docks in many communities with loaner life jackets for children to borrow.

- Check all required safety equipment to be sure it is in good working order. The Coast Guard Auxiliary provides free vessel safety exams. Contact your nearest flotilla for more information or visit the Alaska-based Coast Guard Auxiliary’s website to schedule an exam.

- Provide a float plan to family and friends before you get underway detailing your trip to aid rescuers in the event you are overdue. Sample float plans can be found on the Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety website. Also check out a handy float plan generator at Pledge to Live.org

- Take a boating safety course.  Knowing the basics of boating skills and seamanship is just as important as knowing the waters on which you’ll be boating.  Learn both at free boating safety courses offered throughout the year by the Coast Guard Auxiliary.  For the 2013 schedule, visit the Auxiliary website.

- Take multiple forms of communication devices and extra batteries or the charger. Always remember VHF-FM radio is the primary communications network for the maritime boating community. Also, consider a personal emergency beacon and if you have one ensure it is registered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

For more information on safe recreational boating please visit the Coast Guard's Boating Safety Resource Center.

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