Coast Guard reminds boaters to stay safe on Alaska’s waters

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – As the weather continues to warm and Alaskans once again take to the water, the Coast Guard reminds boaters to stay safe and adequately prepare for the unexpected.

One of the first sport fishing tournaments in 2010, the 17th annual Winter King Salmon Derby, will be held this Saturday in Homer. The derby is the first time many boaters will be out on the water since the end of the Summer 2009 boating season. Last year, more than 220 boats and 800 anglers braved wintery March temperatures to participate in the event.

“Rapidly changing weather, harsh terrain, and frigid water present a unique challenge for boaters in Alaska,” said Commander Steve Pearson, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage’s Chief of Response. “Preparation, safety gear, and filing a float plan are a boater’s best bet towards surviving an emergency while on the water.”

The Coast Guard recommends that every boater carry the following safety items:

  • A 406 Mhz EPIRB (make sure you register it after purchase, or rescuers may be delayed in reaching you! In remote Alaska areas, this may become your ONLY way to call for help.)
  • A Coast Guard-approved life jacket (because they float, you don’t…)
  • A handheld VHF marine radio with extra batteries
  • A Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher
  • A first aid kit packed in a watertight container
  • A signaling kit (mirror, whistle and day/ night flares)
  • Warm and water resistant clothing appropriate for Alaska’s extreme environments
  • And for larger boats, a life raft with a survival kit

The Coast Guard Auxiliary will be available in Homer throughout this weekend’s derby for courtesy vessel safety inspections. For more information on scheduling a free inspection, please contact Homer Auxiliary Lead Vessel Examiner Mike Riley at 907-399-7808.

Boaters are also encouraged to attend a boating safety course before enjoying Alaska’s scenic waterways. To find a class in your area, please visit

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