National Safe Boating Week - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

National Safe Boating Week

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Life Jackets:   Nearly 85% of those who drown while boating were not wearing a life jacket, according to the National Safe Boating Council.  Grab a life jacket and wear it…period.  Wearing a life jacket is simple, effective and can be life-saving.  For more information:

Vessel Safety Inspection:   An easy way to check for vessel safety is to make sure that you take advantage of the Vessel Safety Check (VSC), program.  This is a free, no risk, service provided by the US Coast Guard.  If your vessel fails to meet safety standards, no law enforcement action is taken and the examiner will provide a list of items for correction.  Click the link below to find a safety check near you:

EPIRBs: Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons or EPIRBs will help rescue forces locate you more quickly.  Avid boaters maintain an EPIRB often serves as the last line of defense when disaster strikes.  For more information and EPIRB registration:

Boat Safety

Marine Forecast:  Before setting out, obtain the latest marine forecast and warning information from  Take note if you hear these terms; Small Craft Advisories, Gale or Storm Warnings which alert mariners to either high winds or waves occurring now or forecast to occur up to 24 hours from now and/or Special Marine Warnings.

Hypothermia:  On warm days, it is easy to overlook the fact that water temperature may be much lower than the air temperature.  Immersion in cold water can rapidly become life threatening.  The human body cannot survive in water temperatures in the 50s and 60s for very long as water conducts body heat away 26 times faster than air of the same temperature.   Take the time to think safety first and plan appropriately for weather and water conditions.

Thunderstorm Safety:  Thunderstorms can bring shifting and gusty winds, lightning, waterspouts, and torrential downpours which can turn a day's pleasure into a nightmare of distress.  There are no specific warnings or advisories for lightning but all thunderstorms produce lightning.  A lightning strike to a vessel can be catastrophic, especially if it results in a fire or loss of electronics.    Boating safety begins ashore with planning and training.

Boating Under the Influence:   Alcohol is a contributing factor in about a third of all recreational boating fatalities on the water.  Boating Under the Influence, or BUI, affects judgment, vision, balance and coordination.

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