USCG Boating Safety

The U.S. Coast Guard is asking all boat owners and operators to help reduce fatalities, injuries, property damage, and healthcare costs related to recreational boating accidents by taking personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their passengers.

Life jackets could prevent approximately two-thirds of all boating-related drownings of children ages 14 and under. In fact, in most states, children under 13 must wear life jackets. It’s the law. The Coast Guard and National SAFE KIDS Campaign strongly recommend adults always wear life jackets as well – not only to keep themselves safe, but to demonstrate safe behavior for their children.

The United States Coast Guard advises boaters not to “Teak Surf.” Recent boating fatalities revealed that carbon monoxide [CO] emitted from a vessel’s exhaust resulted in CO poisoning. “Teak Surfing” places the individual in position directly exposed to the CO in the engine’s exhaust. This may result in a loss of coherent responses and even death. In addition, “Teak Surfing” dangerously exposes the individual to a possible propeller injury and, since it is done without a life jacket [PFD], it significantly increases the probability of drowning. The Coast Guard stresses, “Teak Surfing” is a very dangerous activity and advises boaters not to participate in it.

Essential boating safety steps include always wearing a life jacket and requiring passengers to do the same; never boating under the influence; completing a boating safety course; and getting a free vessel safety check annually from local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or United States Power Squadrons® vessel examiners. The U.S. Coast Guard reminds all boaters, “You’re in Command. Boat Responsibly!”

For more information on boating responsibly, go to or the U.S. Coast Guard Infoline 1-800-368-5647.

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