Tuesday, December 6, 2011

For holiday gift-giving, think boating safety

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Public Affairs

December 6, 2011
Contact: Bill Swank
Public Affairs Officer

News Release

For holiday gift-giving, think boating safety

WASHINGTON – Puzzled about the perfect gift or stocking stuffers for the recreational boating family members and friends on your holiday gift-giving list? You can’t go wrong by thinking boating safety. The gift ideas are almost endless and many are relatively inexpensive.

For Dad, how about a rearming kit for his inflatable life jacket, or one of the new variety of 12-gauge flare guns with attached assortment of flares? Of course, if you can afford a more expensive gift, a marine-band VHF radio or a portable, hand-held EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) can be extremely useful while fishing or pleasure boating (be sure to register the EPIRB after purchase or rescuers may be delayed in responding).

Mom will be safe and stylish while sun bathing on the deck in a wrap-around-the-waist “belt pack lite” life jacket that won’t interfere with her sun-tan maintenance. A CO2- charged fanny pack model also is available…it’s unobtrusive yet readily accessible if the need arises.

For the kids, a new type-2 life jacket sized to your child’s weight and sporting a neoprene collar In most cases will keep them safely afloat if they happen to fall overboard.

Stocking stuffer ideas might include:

…a Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher,

…a first aid kit in a watertight container,

…nautical charts for areas the family likes to visit,

…or a signaling kit, including mirror, whistle and air-horn.

If it’s been a while since your family coxswain has had a boating refresher course, your local Coast Guard Auxiliary flotilla offers a number of inexpensive courses on such topics as:

About Boating Safety – a multi-session, in-depth boating safety course in which participants can earn a boating safety identification card.

Boating Skills and Seamanship – A far more comprehensive course for those who want to go beyond the About Boating Safety class, this course covers such topics as choosing the right boat and equipment for your needs; trailering, boat handling and understanding the “highway” signs and rules of the nautical road; navigation, lines and knots and understanding weather, and much more.

GPS for Mariners – a modern learning experience that focuses on the GPS equipment typically owned by recreational boaters and helps an individual learn how to use a GPS for practical recreational boating.

How to Read a Nautical Chart -- a course designed for use at sea to provide the navigator with the knowledge to interpret a chart’s contents, navigate to a destination and return safely to port.

Weekend Navigator – a comprehensive course designed for both experienced and novice powerboat and sailboat operators to help the boating enthusiast hone the skills required for a safe voyage on a variety of waters and under a variety of conditions.

Some of the most valuable gifts don’t cost anything but a few minutes of your time. For example, you can schedule a free vessel safety check with your local Coast Guard Auxiliary flotilla at a marina near you. To find a flotilla in your area, simply log on to cgaux.org.

No matter what level of enthusiasm or how many years your family mariner has been boating, any of these items can help make boating a safer, more enjoyable experience. Consider giving the boating enthusiast in your family a life saving gift this holiday season.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, created by an Act of Congress in 1939, is the uniformed civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard across all mission areas. For more information on the Coast Guard Auxiliary and a flotilla near you, visit cgaux.org