Boating Safety

Recreational Boating Safety – Rescue at Sea

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
Sometimes things happen that are beyond your control. This is such a story. It involved 3 men aboard a recreational fishing vessel fishing near the Galveston North Jetty limit.

Here is what happened.

Recreational Boating Safety – The Pecking Order

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
People who are not experienced sailors often do not fully understand the Navigational Rules of the Road that apply to sailing vessels, so this column will be dedicated to explaining some of those rules. I have often heard people say that a sailboat always has the right of way, but

Recreational Boating Safety – Everyone Fend for Themselves

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
When you hear the word “fender,” what comes to mind? You may get an image in your mind of that part of your car or truck that covers the wheels, or if you are a musician you might think about the brand name for guitars and amps. But if you are a mariner, then you should think

Recreational Boating Safety – Man Overboard

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
I remember a recent case in which a recreational vessel traveled for miles before anyone realized a passenger was missing. His body was found a couple of days later. It is important to keep a count of all passengers on board the vessel at any given time. Any time

Recreational Boating Safety – Good Samaritan Rescue

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
The US Coast Guard relies heavily on private boaters to assist other boaters in distress. Often the nearest boat to a vessel in distress is a private boat. When time is of the essence, it is often the private vessel operator that comes to the aid of a fellow boater, and

Recreational Boating Safety – 12 Boating Days of Christmas

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
“The Twelve Gifts of Christmas” is a song parody written and sung by Allan Sherman in 1963. It is based on the classic Christmas song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and I always substituted Sherman’s gifts when singing the original classic, but under my

Recreational Boating Safety – Dealing with Other Boats’ Wakes

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
If you have ever traveled a busy waterway such as the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), then you have seen the results of crossing another boat’s wake at the wrong angle, the wrong speed, or too close to the other boat. Perhaps you have done one of these things

Recreational Boating Safety – When Bad Things Go Wrong

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
Sometimes when bad things happen our actions or lack thereof make them worse. For this column I have taken a page from the 2022 Recreational Boating Statistics to identify the top five primary accident types and address them. Take a few minutes to scroll down to the table

Recreational Boating Safety – They Call the Wind Mariah

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Base Galveston Flotilla
“They Call the Wind Maria” is a popular American song written for the 1951 Broadway musical, “Paint Your Wagon,” which was set during the California Gold Rush. Maria in the song is pronounced Ma-rye-a, with the accent on the second syllable.

Recreational Boating Safety – Soft Grounding Prevention and Recovery

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Base Galveston Flotilla
As long as the earth’s surface is not completely covered with water, there will be boat groundings; that is, the boat is no longer floating free but instead is stuck on the water’s bottom. There are two types of groundings: soft groundings and hard groundings.

Recreational Boating Safety – The Guest List

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Base Galveston Flotilla
This is a list of considerations for when you are a guest on another person’s boat.
Item 1: The Float Plan
Filing a float plan with one or more people can mean the difference between being rescued and

Recreational Boating Safety – Fall Back But Don’t Fall Out (of the Boat)

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
Well, it’s that time of year when we revert from Daylight Savings Time back to Standard Time. Using the old saying, spring ahead and fall back, we turn our clocks back an hour. Fall sneaks up slowly on us here on the Gulf of Mexico; water temperatures begin to get

Recreational Boating Safety – A Beginner’s Kayaking Guide

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
A friend and fellow railroad retiree (we were both locomotive engineers for the same railroad) recently took up kayaking at the ripe old age of 72. He is a river paddler and is kayaking with friends and slowly learning some lessons (some the hard way). When he told me he

Recreational Boating Safety – Recreational Boat Crew Member

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
This column is about Recreational Boating Safety, and some people may think that the target audience is boat owners. Well, it is, but there is another target audience: the recreational boat passenger. You do not have to be a boat owner to enjoy recreational

Recreational Boating Safety – New Boating Safety Recommendation

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
Recommended but Not Required
For years now I have urged boaters to add and use certain life-saving equipment on their boats. While the regulations require you to have a life jacket for each person aboard and require children under 13 to wear

Recreational Boating Safety – Vessel Safety Check Failures

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
All recreational boat owners should take advantage of the Coast Guard Auxiliary’s free Vessel Safety Check. This free examination ensures that you have the required safety equipment, and you also receive many Coast Guard recommendations that are not

Recreational Boating Safety – Shoe Me the Way

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
I have written many articles about required and recommended safety equipment, and I have included shoes in some discussions, but I have never written an article based solely on shoes and their lifesaving importance. This column will discuss the various types of

Recreational Boating Safety – Bucket List

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
Actors Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson had a very successful movie about creating a list of things they wanted to see and do before they died. The list of things to do was called a bucket list, as in the term “kicking the bucket.” This column is about an actual bucket

Recreational Boating Safety – Losing an Engine

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
For those who venture far from shore in their search for boating recreation, be that simply cruising or deep sea fishing, the twin engine option is more popular than the single engine option. Maneuvering a boat with twin engines is, however, not just a little different

Recreational Boating Safety – Circle of Death

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
A few years ago, a neighbor of mine was fishing commercially for blue crabs by himself in a boat set up for crabbing. My neighbor had a large quantity of crab traps stretched out over a couple of miles. The crab traps themselves are weighted to sink to the bottom with a buoy attached

Recreational Boating Safety – Freeboard

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
I monitor the Coast Guard rescues and analyze what went wrong in each case as much as I can with the limited information given for each incident. There is a common theme to most of the offshore rescues: the boat is taking on water and has either been swamped or

Recreational Boating Safety – Stand By for the Following Message

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
There are valid reasons for not following ships and boats closely. This column will address how to use your judgment to maintain a proper distance between your boat and other vessels in a following situation.
Rules of the Road: Overtaking (Rule 13)

Recreational Boating Safety – Personal Watercraft (PWC) Rules

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
Although Personal Watercraft are considered boats under the regulations, there are still a few regulatory differences in the rules that apply to PWC. Many states have additional rules that apply only to PWC, and I discuss the Texas rules here as an example. You must check your own

Recreational Boating Safety – Outfitting Your Kayak

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
This column is dedicated to my friend Mike, who at 72 years of age bought his first kayak. Mike and I both had long careers as locomotive engineers. Mike lives on the river, and he did quite a bit of research before purchasing a kayak as tailored to him as

Recreational Boating Safety – Hello Operator

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
2022 Recreational Boating Accident Statistics
The 2022 Recreational Boating Accident Statistics are out. It always takes about six months to compile and organize the data into meaningful tables and categories. As Sgt. Friday always said, “Just the facts, ma’am.” That’s all

Recreational Boating Safety – 2022 Recreational Boating Statistics

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
The 2022 Recreational Boating Statistics are in. One good note: the fatality rate was down 1.8% from 2021. Another good note: the number of accidents decreased by 9.0% and the number of injuries decreased by 15.9%. Let’s look at the tables below and discuss how they

Recreational Boating Safety – Stand-Up Paddle Boards

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
Did you know that the US Coast Guard regulates stand up paddle boards (SUPs) as boats? Let’s look at what this means for the average SUP rider.
Growing up on the Texas Gulf Coast, I always had a surfboard. We drove to school with

Recreational Boating Safety – Underway Unexpectedly

Bob CurrieBy Bob Currie, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Galveston Flotilla
One of the frequent types of calls the Coast Guard gets is a report of a vessel with no one aboard. Everyone’s first thoughts are that the boat’s occupants had ended up in the water, and sometimes that is the case. The Coast Guard investigates all such reports, and

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