If you live on the Gulf Coast, chances are you have at least a few avid boaters on your holiday gift list. In the spirit of the season, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary has offered up some great suggestions for holiday gifts that will thrill boaters — and help prevent boating accidents, too.
For the skipper, the flotilla says you can’t go wrong with a portable Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or a marine-band VHF radio. If you choose the EPIRB, be sure to register it so rescuers aren’t delayed in responding.
If it’s been a while since the captain has had a refresher course on boating safety, there are a number of inexpensive boat safety and informational courses available:
- About Boating Safety: participants can earn a boating safety ID card
- Boating Skills and Seamanship: an advanced course including navigation, rules of the nautical road, lines and knots, and understanding weather
- GPS for Mariners: learn how to use GPS equipment in recreational boating
- How to Read a Nautical Chart: getting to your destination and returning safely to port
- Weekend Navigator: for both novice and experienced sailboat and powerboat operators
Those who love to soak up the sun can be safe and stylish in a “belt pack lite,” a life jacket that doesn’t interfere with tan lines, or a CO2-charged fanny pack model.
Young boaters will always appreciate a new type-2 life jacket in the right size for their size and weight. Parents will love the peace of mind they get from a rearming kit for inflatable life jackets or a new 12-gauge flare gun and flares.
For the family, how about some nautical charts for areas they would like to visit?
Keep them all safe if a boating accident does occur with these ideas:
- A Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher
- A watertight first aid kit
- A signaling kit with a mirror, a whistle and an air horn
On a tight budget? Schedule a free vessel safety check with your local Coast Guard Auxiliary flotilla.
A day on the water can be relaxing or exhilarating — unless it ends in an accident on the water. Consider showing your family and friends how much you care this year with the gift of boating safety.
Source: U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary press release, “For Holiday Gift-Giving, Think Boating Safety,” December 3, 2010