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Be Safe! Prepare for Hazards

Before you go out on the water, check the forecast at your local NWS coastal office. You should also check for the latest NWS buoy observations from the Observations from the National Data Buoy Center. You should also make sure your boat has essential, and in cases, required, safety equipment and communications tools.


Life Jackets

Before you and your family get out on the water this year, grab a life jacket and "Wear It!" Nearly 85 percent of those who drown while boating were not wearing a life jacket. Wearing a life jacket is one of the most effective and simple life-saving strategies for safe recreational boating. Boaters are required to have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on board for every passenger on their vessel.

Today's life jackets are available in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. They are comfortable, lightweight, and perfect for any boating activity. The most important thing is this: remember to grab a life jacket and "Wear It!" To learn more, visit the National Safe Boating Council online, at

Fire Extinguishers

U. S. Coast Guard approved, marine-type fire extinguishers are required on boats where a fire hazard could be expected from the engines or fuel system. When required, boats less than 26 feet must carry at least one B-I, Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher. Boats 26-40 feet must carry two B-I or one B-II Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher(s). Boats 40-65 feet must carry three B-I or one B-II and one B-I Coast Guard approved extinguishers.

Fire extinguishers are classified by a letter and a number symbol. The letter indicates the type of fire the unit is designed to extinguish and the number indicates the size of the extinguisher. A type B extinguisher for example is intended to extinguish burning liquids such as gasoline, oil or grease, all of which are common on a boat.

Your shouldn't have to travel more than half the length of their boat to get to the fire extinguisher. Check your fire extinguishers at least once a year to ensure they are properly charged, stored and are undamaged. Start your boating season with this vital safety check.

Communications: Cell phones, Weather Radios and Other Options