National Safe Boating Week: Week Before Memorial Day
Accidents happen too fast on the water to reach for stowed life jackets. Most boating fatalities are drownings – and the majority of those who drown aren’t wearing a life jacket.
Now, new styles are available – comfortable and lightweight. During National Safe Boating Week, celebrate by wearing your life jacket at all times while underway. And ask friends and family to do the same! The National Safe Boating Council, its local partners, and Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol reminds you: "Don’t just carry a life jacket – Wear It!" To learn more about Safe Boating contact the Harbor Patrol Office at (805) 564-5530.
Safe Boating Tips
- Wear a life jacket no matter what activity you have planned - boating, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, etc.
- Make sure life jackets are U.S. Coast Guard-approved and appropriate for the activity. Inflatable PFDs must be worn at all times, are not approved for children under 16, are not recommended for weak swimmers, non-swimmers and where immersion is expected.
- Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard-approved and appropriate for your favorite boating activities.
- Try it on to ensure a proper fit. Life jackets meant for adults are not safe for children.
- Children under 13 years old must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket (unless restrained by a tether on a sailboat or in an enclosed cabin).
- Don't drink while boating. Alcohol use is a major contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.
- Know your state's boating laws before you get out on the water. Rules and laws can differ from state to state and violations can result in ticketing, fines or jail time.
- Make sure you and your boat are prepared. Santa Barbara Sail & Power Squadron (805) 570-2991 and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offer free vessel safety checks and boating safety classes.
- Check the weather. Know the latest marine weather forecast prior to going out, and keep a regular check for changing conditions.
- Keep in touch. File a float plan with a friend or relative. If you don’t communicate your safe return, they should contact the local boating authority or USCG. Communication devices can be the most important piece of emergency equipment on board, especially in case of emergency. VHF radios, cell phones, satellite phones, emergency position indicating radio beacons and personal locator beacons can all contribute to your safety.
Harbor Patrol Supervisor
(805) 560-7580 Fax