Public invited to safe boating event at Coast Guard Station Green Bay

9th Coast Guard District News
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The public is invited to attend a National Safe Boating Week kickoff event at Coast Guard Station Green Bay on Saturday, May 18, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The National Safe Boating Week kickoff event feature boating safety and equipment demonstrations, tours, free vessel safety inspections, and rescue demonstrations to promote safe boating initiatives for the upcoming boating season throughout the Green Bay area.

Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard; Coast Guard Auxiliary; Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Brown County Sheriff’s Department; Green Bay Fire and Police departments. State representatives Andre Jacque and Eric Genrich and “Coastie,” the talking, robotic mascot boat, will also be in attendance.

At 10 a.m., state representatives Jacque and Genrich will speak at the opening ceremony. In addition, a National Safe Boating Week proclamation, signed by Green Bay Mayor James. J. Schmitt, will be delivered.

Additional events will include interactive safe boating demonstrations, tours of the Coast Guard station and Coast Guard boats, paddlecraft safety demonstrations, demonstrations by local law enforcement agencies, and free vessel safety inspections by the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Power Squadron, and visit by “Coastie” the robotic, talking boat to entertain the kids.

National Safe Boating Week is an annual observance sponsored by the National Safe Boating Council and endorsed and promoted by the Coast Guard to raise awareness of the importance of safe boating practices, specifically life jacket usage.

According to Coast Guard statistics, 651 boaters died on our Nation’s waterways in 2012. Among those, the 379 of the 459 who drowned were not wearing a life jacket. Donning a life jacket is much harder once you’re in the water, especially if you’re injured. That’s why the Coast Guard recommends that you wear your life jacket at all times when on a boat or in the water.

Small recreational vessels, including paddlecraft, are the most vulnerable. Eight of every 10 boaters who drowned were using boats less than 21 feet in length.

Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents — it’s responsible for 17 percent of boater deaths. Alcohol is even more hazardous on the water than on land. The marine environment – motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray – accelerates a drinker’s impairment. These stressors cause fatigue that makes a boat operator’s coordination, judgment and reaction time decline even faster when using alcohol than consuming alcohol on land.

Mariners are encouraged to invest in a VHF-FM radio as their primary means of distress alerting on the water. Communication via VHF-FM radio provides superior alerting capabilities over cellular phones. Many modern VHF-FM radios are equipped with Digital Selective Calling (DSC). This feature provides the mariner with an emergency feature that will send a distress with the vessel’s information and Global Positioning System (GPS) location at the press of a button. It is important to note that the DSC radio must be properly registered with an MMSI number through Boat U.S. and the radio must be properly interfaced with the GPS in order to send an accurate position to assist emergency responders to respond to the distress.

The U.S. Coast Guard recommends that all recreational boaters, including personal watercraft users and paddlers, take advantage of the free Vessel Safety Check (VSC) program every year. VSCs are offered by experienced members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadrons, two of the nation’s premier volunteer boating safety organizations. A VSC is your best way of learning about problems that might put you in violation of state or federal laws or, worse, create danger for you or your passengers on the water.

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