The Coast Guard promotes safe boating practices

Source: US Coast Guard

The Coast Guard encourages members of the public to review and participate in safe boating practices during National Safe Boating Week and prior to Los Angeles Fleet Week.

Alongside National Safe Boating Week, Fleet Week will take place in Los Angeles May 24-30. Fleet Week recognizes and honors the military and is historically a busy weekend for the boating community.

“With Los Angeles Fleet Week and Memorial Day this weekend, we want the public to enjoy all of the great vacation activities and do so while following safe boating practices,” said the Captain Rebecca Ore, commander of Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach. “We encourage the public to boat safely, always wear life jackets, have a reliable means of communication and file a flotation plan before going out on the water.”

Fleet week also historically signifies an increase in maritime traffic and US Navy vessels; We urge the public to review the following information regarding Naval Ship Protection Zones.

  • Understanding Warship Protection Zones 33 CFR § 165.2030(b). A Navy Ship Protection Zone is a 500 meter restricted area of ​​water surrounding large United States Navy vessels that is necessary to ensure the safety or security of those United States Navy vessels. A Warship Protection Zone exists around U.S. warships over 100 feet in length overall at all times in United States navigable waters, whether the large U.S. warship is underway, anchored, moored or in a floating drydock, except when the large warship is moored or anchored in a restricted area or in a naval defensive sea area. To request clearance to operate within 100 yards of a large U.S. Navy vessel, contact the Coast Guard, Senior Naval Officer in Command, or Official Patrol on Channel 16 VHF-FM .

Water temperatures are estimated to approach 60 degrees Fahrenheit, despite the fact that air temperatures are expected to reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The public should be aware that hypothermia can occur if the water is 70 degrees Fahrenheit and below.

We encourage the public to participate in National Safe Boating Week and review these top boating safety tips before summer boating activities:

  • Always wear a life jacket. There is usually very little time to reach the stowed vests in the event of an accident. Wearing one at all times reduces the risk of drowning. Federal law requires sailors to have a personal flotation device on board for each passenger.
  • Have sufficient means of communication including a VHF radio. VHF channel 16 is the international calling and distress frequency and can be used to reach the Coast Guard in an emergency.
  • Large commercial and military vessels have priority over smaller, more maneuverable boats on the water. It is illegal, under Rule 9 of the Domestic and International Traffic Act, for vessels under 65 feet in length to obstruct the passage of such vessels or to cross in front of such vessels which impede their passage.
  • Be on the lookout for illegal charters. If the vessel is carrying six or more passengers, it must have a valid Coast Guard inspection certificate. Passengers can ask the ship’s captain to check their license and the boat’s inspection status.
  • Do not carry more passengers than a boat is designed for. Check the boat’s maximum capacity plate (if applicable). Do not carry more passengers or more weight than the boat for which it was designed. Overloading can cause the boat to roll lower in the water, reduce boat stability and greatly increase the risk of capsizing. Also, too much weight on one side of the boat can cause the boat to list and increase the risk of capsizing.
  • Never sail under the influence. It is illegal to operate a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There are severe penalties for violating BUI/BWI laws, which can include heavy fines, suspension or revocation of boat operator privileges, and jail time.
  • Never turn your back on the water. There are strong rip currents along the Pacific coast and sneaker waves are common.
  • Dress for water temperature, not air temperature. Even if boaters do not plan to enter the water, they should be prepared for an emergency. Paddleboarders, kayakers and windsurfers who are likely to go into the water should wear wetsuits to decrease their risk of hypothermia and a life jacket to prevent them from drowning before rescuers can arrive on the scene.
  • Submit a float plan. A float plan simply lets family and friends know where you are going and your expected time of return. File a floating plan with someone who doesn’t start with you and stick to the plan. A flotation plan helps responders locate an overdue boater who may be in distress. Float plans can be filed through the Coast Guard Safety Application using the following link. https://floatplancentral.cgaux.org/

For more information on boating, go to http://www.uscgboating.org/ and for weather conditions, go to http://www.weather.gov/.

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