Coast Guard reminds mariners, harbor users of snow load

JUNEAU, Alaska – The Coast Guard reminds mariners and harbor users to remove excess snow and ice build-up from moored vessels this winter.

Accumulation of snow and ice on a vessel can create the risk of reduced stability and the potential for sinking, property damage, and pollution to occur.

It’s critical for mariners to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment, including a life jacket, while out on the water during the winter months. Proper safety equipment exponentially increases the rate of survivability if an incident occurs.

Tips to ensure vessel safety in the winter include:

  • Remove snow and ice accumulation
  • Perform routine vessel checks
  • Verify and update owner contact information with the harbor or marina

“Ice and snow can clog cockpit drains causing additional weight loads that can push the waterline over scuppers and through hulls,” said Michael Folkerts, boating safety specialist, 17th Coast Guard District. “A common cause of harbor sinkings are frozen, and subsequently cracked through, hulls and failed fittings. Winter conditions can be rough on boats, and boaters need to take extra precautions.”

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