Recreational Boating Safety – Pamphlets and Stickers

By Bob Currie, Vessel Examiner
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 081-06-08
The Coast Guard has pamphlets and stickers for all kinds of stuff. I ordered some to pass out to people, and if you want a particular one, just drop me an email and I will get one to you for no charge. We don’t charge for any of our services. Our goals are to educate boaters and encourage safe boating practices.

Flotilla 081-06-08 is based at Coast Guard Station Galveston. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the US Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard in nearly all mission areas. The Auxiliary was created by Congress in 1939. For more information, please visit www.cgaux.org.

Canoe, Kayak, SUP or Rowboat Identification Sticker
The canoe, kayak, SUP or rowboat identification sticker is one of our most popular stickers. It is metallic orange, waterproof, and really sticks to the side of your vessel. All you need is a waterproof marker to add your information to the sticker.

Canoe, Kayak, SUP or Rowboat Identification Sticker

Marine Radio Emergency Procedure
This is a very important sticker to have aboard if you have a marine radio, and you should have one. We can’t save you if we don’t know you are in distress, and a marine radio is the best way to reach us. Further, all persons with marine radios are required to monitor Channel 16, the emergency channel, and a private vessel could be closer to a vessel in distress and make the difference when time is of the essence. As a boat operator, you may have the procedures down pat, but if something happens to you, then your passengers need readily available instructions on how to operate your radio in an emergency. Don’t let your passengers have to search for this sticker. Your pre-departure briefing with your passengers should include a brief explanation of the marine radio as well as showing them the location of the radio sticker.

Marine Radio Emergency Procedure

This is a waterproof sticker that will last as long as your boat does. Place it near your radio and you will feel much better about being covered in case of an accident.

VHF-DSC Marine Radio Pamphlet
There are marine radios, and then there are marine radios. The most advanced models are DSC (Digital Selective Calling) radios that have a Distress Button that, when pushed and held for 5 seconds, automatically sends out a distress signal to the Coast Guard and includes your GPS coordinates as well as important information about your boat. But just buying such a radio is only half the process. You still have to secure an MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) number. Think of this as the phone number for your radio. Once you have an MMSI number, you have to program the number into your DSC-enabled radio. Nine out of ten vessels with DSC-enabled radios that I have inspected did NOT have their radios set up properly. The Distress button does not work unless it is set up to transmit your MMSI and boat information. There are two types of DSC-enabled radios: those that have built in GPS (the better type) and those that have to be linked to an external GPS such as your fish plotter. This pamphlet helps you understand the procedures necessary to set your radio up to use the Distress button.

VHF-DSC Marine Radio Pamphlet

Aids to Navigation (ATON) System Pamphlet
Hey Dad, what’s that big red thing floating in the water over there? Well, son, that is a, uh, some kind of warning thingy. No! It’s an Aid to Navigation! If you ply the waters, you should know what these thingies are all about. You learn all about ATONs in a Safe Boating Class, but I have a pamphlet that does a good job of informing you about ATONs and other markers found on the waters. I pass copies of pamphlets and stickers out whenever I perform free VSCs (Vessel Safety Checks), so why not kill two birds with one stone an set up a VSC for your boat. We come to your location.

Aids to Navigation (ATON) System Pamphlet

Suddenly In Command
What would happen if you were suddenly incapacitated out on the water? Would your passengers know how to operate the boat and your marine radio? The US Coast Guard has a class called Suddenly in Command that is designed just for passengers such as a spouse or child that tells them exactly what to do in such a case. My flotilla is working on scheduling a class in the area. If anyone is interested, shoot me an email and I will give you the details as they develop. There is a small fee involved to cover costs of materials.

Texas Boating Fatalities on the Rise
Marine enforcement officers with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department responded to 19 boating accidents and filed 55 boating while intoxicated cases over Memorial Day weekend. In 2017, 45 people were killed in boating accidents on Texas waters. This is a 28 percent increase from 2016. In 2017 TPWD responded to 172 boating accidents with 83 boating related injuries. Keep in mind that these boating accidents affect more than just the people involved. The boating accident I discussed in the Perfect Storm column involved a father of 11 children who was a coach and father figure to hundreds more. Here are the fatality statistics (fatalities on coastal waters are NOT included):

Canyon Lake: 2 fatalities
Lake Conroe: 4 fatalities
Copano Bay: 2 fatalities
Espiritu Santo Bay: 1 fatality
Lewisville Lake: 1 fatality
Lake Palo Pinto: 2 fatalities
Guadalupe River: 1 fatality
Lake Livingston: 5 fatalities
Matagorda Bay: 2 fatalities
Lake Palestine: 2 fatalities
Possum King Lake: 1 fatality
Lake Ray Hubbard: 1 fatality
Sam Rayburn Reservoir: 2 fatalities
Lake Tawakoni: 2 fatalities
Lake Texoma: 1 fatality
Lake Travis: 1 fatality
Lavon Lake: 1 fatality
Stillhouse Hollow Lake: 1 fatality
Lake O’ the Pines: 3 fatalities
Lake Fork: 2 fatalities
Eagle Mountain Lake: 1 fatality
Joe Poole Lake: 1 fatality
Lake Arlington: 1 fatality
Chocolate Bayou: 1 fatality
Buffalo Springs Lake: 1 fatality

For more information on boating safety, please visit the Official Website of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division at www.uscgboating.org. Questions about the US Coast Guard Auxiliary or our free Vessel Safety Check program may be directed to me at rt.currie@gmail.com. I am available to perform free Vessel Safety Checks, and I will come to your location to perform them. SAFE BOATING!

[6-4-2018]

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