Learn safe boating tips

Learn safe boating tips

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Sea Tow Services International and the nonprofit Sea Tow Foundation have offered five boating safety tips. www.boatingsafety.com:

1. Wear a life jacket. Children under the age of 13 are required to wear lifejackets while boating.

2. Designate a sober skipper: Boat operators need to be clear-headed and able to make quick decisions while on the water. Drinking alcohol or taking drugs, including some over-the-counter or prescription medicines, can impair that ability.

3. Carry a VHF Radio and know how to use it. Cell phones can be unreliable on the water, where coverage can be limited. A VHF radio allows boaters to broadcast a call for help to anyone in your area monitoring Channel 16 (the hailing and distress channel), including the U.S. Coast Guard. Perform a radio check to ensure the VHF is operational.

In several regions of the U.S., there's a free Sea Tow Automated Radio Check service. Tune to VHF Channel 24-28 to check the tone, quality and strength of a radio transmission without having to rely on anyone else. To find the VHF channel for a radio check, go to www.seatow.com/boating-safety/automated-radio-checks.

4. Get a vessel safety check: The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadrons both offer free Vessel Safety Checks to get boaters ready for the season.

5. Take a boating safety course. Classes can help boaters stay current with  constantly changing requirements and regulations. Boaters who complete a course may be eligible for a discount on their boat owner's insurance.

See a list of all of the approved boating safety courses offered nationwide at www.nasbla.net/courseListing.php.

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