Lifesaving holiday gift ideas from the Coast Guard Auxiliary

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary offer a few last minute holiday gift ideas for the boater in your life – gifts that may save a life.

For a potentially lifesaving gift this year, consider buying and registering a 406 MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. Starting in February 2009, beacons that transmit only an analog signal (121.5 or 243 MHz) will no longer be “heard” by search and rescue satellites. This presents a great gift idea and an opportunity to help your family or friends make the switch to 406.

“A properly registered EPIRB takes the search out of search and rescue,” said Sandy Needle, Coast Guard Search and Rescue controller, Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach.

Additionally, the value of a properly fitting life jacket can’t be under-estimated. There are a wide variety of life jackets that serve the demands of every on-the-water activity. Whether the gift recipient is an off-shore boater, coastal kayaker or inland canoeist, there’s a comfortable, easy-to-wear life jacket to meet their needs.

Other gift suggestions are:

* Signaling kit (mirror, flares, whistle, lights, and an air horn, preferably with a pump)

* Nautical charts

* Submersible, hand-held VHF radio

* Dry/Wet Suit

* Neoprene gloves

* Compass

* Life raft

* First aid kit

Some of the most valuable gifts don’t cost anything but time, such as scheduling a free vessel safety check with the local Coast Guard Auxiliary or Power Squadron. Another option is to sign-up your family or friends for a boating safety course. Course topics include basic boating knowledge, laws, navigational rules and problem solving. For more information on scheduling a free vessel safety check visit www.safetyseal.net.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the United States Coast Guard. Created by an Act of Congress in 1939, the Auxiliary directly supports the Coast Guard in all missions, except military and direct law enforcement actions.

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