Public Information Statement

National Weather Service Headquarters Washington DC

1015 AM EDT Wed May 15 2013


To:       Subscribers:

          - Family of Services

          - NOAA Weather Wire Service

          - Emergency Managers Weather Information Network

          - NOAAPORT

          Other NWS Partners and NWS Employees


From:     Mark Tew

          Chief, Marine and Coastal Weather Services Branch


Subject:  National Safe Boating Week, May 18-24, 2013


NWS and the National Safe Boating Council will partner for

National Safe Boating Week May 18-24.  The week will

highlight relevant weather and safety-specific Public

Service Announcements for the recreational boating public.

Topics will include:


Sat 5/18: Use of 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.


Sun 5/19: Vessel Safety Checks.  This boating season, make

sure that you take advantage of the Vessel Safety Check

(VSC), program, a free, no risk service provided in your

area by the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and the US Power

Squadrons. A qualified vessel examiner will conduct an

inspection of all the required safety equipment carried or

installed on a vessel and certain aspects of the vessel’s

overall condition. Even if you pay careful attention to

safety, dangerous mechanical problems can crop up on the

best-maintained boat. That's why the U.S. Coast Guard

recommends that all recreational boats (including personal

watercraft) get a free VSC each year. 


Mon 5/20: the use of Emergency Position Indicating Radio

Beacons (EPIRBS).  Emergency beacons, through the worldwide

offered service of Cospas-Sarsat, aid in the detection,

location and Search And Rescue (SAR) of boats, aircraft, and

people in distress. When activated  manually or

automatically upon immersion, EPIRBs send out distress

signals,  which are monitored worldwide by satellites.

Except for the expense of buying a beacon, this system is

free. For additional safe boating, some Personal Locator

Beacons (PLBs) are designed for use in water and may be

attached to life vests.  All 406 MHz beacons should be

registered with NOAA. Additional information for emergency

beacons can be found at



Tue 5/21: Understanding a Marine Forecast. Understanding a

marine forecast is critical to safe boating. Weather and

wave conditions can change suddenly, catching boaters off

guard and creating life threatening conditions. Take

particular note of current advisories and warnings,

including Small Craft Advisories, Gale and Storm Warnings

which alert mariners to either high winds or waves occurring

now or forecast to occur up to 24 hours from now. Before

setting out, obtain the latest marine forecast and warning

information from or NOAA Weather

Radio. Several days ahead of time you can begin listening

for extended outlooks that give general information out to

the next 5 days in both graphical and text format.


Wed 5/22: Hypothermia. Hypothermia is a condition in which

body core temperature drops below the required temperature

for normal metabolism and body functions, which is defined

as 95°F. If exposed to cold and your body is unable to

replenish the heat that is being lost, a drop in core

temperature occurs. As body temperature decreases, you may

have symptoms such as shivering and mental confusion. Heat

is lost more quickly in water than on land. Water

temperatures that would be quite reasonable on land can lead

to hypothermia in water. A water temperature of 50°F often

leads to death in 1 hour and water temperatures hovering at

freezing can lead to death in as little as 15 minutes. Water

at a seemingly warm temperature of 79°F will, after

prolonged exposure, lead to hypothermia.


Thu 5/23: Thunderstorm Safety. Thunderstorms can be a

mariner’s worst nightmare. They can develop quickly and

create dangerous wind and wave conditions. Thunderstorms can

bring shifting and gusty winds, lightning, waterspouts, and

torrential downpours that turn a day’s pleasure into a

nightmare of distress. A lightning strike to a vessel can be

catastrophic, especially if it results in a fire or loss of

electronics. If your boat has a cabin, stay inside and avoid

touching metal or electrical devices. If your boat doesn’t

have a cabin, stay as low as you can in the boat.

Ultimately, boating safety begins ashore with planning and

training. Keep in mind that thunderstorms are usually brief

so waiting it out on land in a safe building or vehicle is

better than riding it out.


(Fri 5/24) Boating under the influence. The effects of

alcohol and drugs are just as hazardous on the water as on

land. Boating Under the Influence, or BUI, affects judgment,

vision, balance and coordination. These impairments can

increase the risk of being involved in a boating accident 

for both passengers and boat operators. Alcohol is a

contributing factor in about a third of all recreational

boating fatalities.  It is illegal in every state to operate

any boat or watercraft while under the influence of alcohol

or drugs.


For more information on hazardous weather and boating

safety, visit the following websites:



or contact:


Wayne Weeks

NWS Coastal and Marine Services



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