Boating safety holiday gift ideas from the Coast Guard

Key pieces of boating safety equipment, including a lifejacket, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, pyrotechnics and other visual distress signals, a fog horn and a life ring are displayed at Coast Guard Station Seattle, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015. While not all safety equipment is required by law, the Coast Guard urges boaters to carry survival gear like this on board in case of emergency. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Sarah Wilson)

Key pieces of boating safety equipment. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Sarah Wilson)

SEATTLE — The Coast Guard has compiled a list of boat safety themed items for the holiday season, putting the real holiday savings in saving the lives of those you love.

The Pacific Northwest is known for year round diverse weather conditions and cold water temperatures; the holidays make for a perfect opportunity to address safety on the water.

Coast Guard gift recommendations are:

1.  The first item is a FREE gift from the Coast Guard, the Coast Guard Mobile app (http://ift.tt/1G6Ne97). In addition to information and services found within the app, it includes the option to file a float plan and request emergency assistance.

2. Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons and Personal Location Beacons alert search and rescue services in the event of an emergency by transmitting a distress message to the nearest rescue coordination center.

3. Marine VHF radios are essential for emergency situations and are monitored 24 hours a day by the Coast Guard. All boats should be equipped with at least one radio, which can reach the Coast Guard on channel 16.

4. Coast Guard approved personal floatation devices and lifejackets will help keep your mariner afloat and, depending on design, helps the wearer remain in a position that permits proper breathing even if unconscious or injured.

5. Protective clothing is vital. The waters of the Pacific Northwest are cold year- round and proper protection from the elements is crucial. Wearing proper clothing increases the odds for survival in the event of water emersion.

6. Signaling devices such as whistles, air horns, mirrors, flares, strobe lights, distress flags, smoke signals, and chemical lights are essential in helping searchers finding someone in distress.

7. Throw-able floatation devices come in all shapes and size, from life rings, to heaving lines, floating cushions and even water activated inflatable buoys. Being able to provide some form of floatation is vital when there’s someone in the water without a lifejacket.

8. Fire extinguisher are required by the Coast Guard on many different types of motor vessels. Today’s fiberglass/composite boats burn very quickly and produce large volumes of toxic smoke. Proper and working fire extinguishers are a required essential tool for fighting a shipboard fire.

9. Bailing items such as handheld bailers, foot pumps, hand pumps, hydraulic or even installed systems, are essential for keeping the water out.

10. Carbon monoxide detectors help protect boaters and others around them. It’s easy to forget about carbon monoxide while on the water in the open air, but the deadly invisible gas can accumulate in or around a running boat.

The U.S. Coast Guard wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season.

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