Coast Guard Boating Safety Advisory

WOODS HOLE, Mass. – Memorial Day weekend marks the traditional start of the recreational boating season, and the number of recreational boats taking to the waters of southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island is expected to grow by the hundreds, even thousands over the next several weeks.

The Coast Guard is urging those who intend to enjoy activities on the water this season to make proper preparations and to keep safety in mind throughout the season.

Boaters should constantly be aware of the possibility of sudden on-water emergencies and must be properly prepared to respond to those emergencies whenever they occur. While air temperatures are warming, water temperatures throughout the southeastern New England area are in the mid 50 degrees Fahrenheit range in most areas. Boaters are urged to use extra caution to avoid sudden or prolonged exposure to the cold water.

The best insurance for surviving most water related emergencies, including unexpected exposure to cold water, is to wear a life jacket. As boat owners make preparations, they should be aware of the number and condition of life jackets on their vessel, ensuring each one is in good condition, and that there is one available for every passenger. If replacements or additional jackets are necessary, there are many varieties of comfortable, Coast Guard approved life jackets available for every water activity.

Another way to increase safety is to receive a vessel safety check. A vessel safety check is a courtesy examination that verifies the presence and condition of safety equipment required by State and the Federal regulations and is conducted by the Coast Guard Auxiliary or local Power Squadron. These examinations are free and will not result in citations or other Coast Guard action if items are found to be missing or in poor condition. Vessel safety check decals are affixed to boats that pass the exam, and a report of the inspection results will be provided to boat owners. To arrange a vessel safety check visit

Other ways to increase safety are to:

  • Be aware of weather and water conditions
  • Avoid boating alone; let others know where you’re going
  • Take a Coast Guard approved boater education course
  • Practice prudent seamanship; boaters should not exceed their own ability
  • Know that alcohol and drugs contribute to accidents.

    Additional information on boating safety can be found at

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