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Archive for the ‘Marine Safety’ Category

Contact:  Jay Culotta
Public Affairs Officer – Flotilla 42, District 8CR


May 4, 2010


Citations coming soon to a waterway near you!

By Jay Culotta
Flotilla 42, District 8CR USCG AUX

Instructors from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 42 (Northlake) will conduct an “About Boating Safely” course from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Madisonville Town Hall on Saturday, May 8, 2010. Cost for the class is $30.00 at the door or $25.00 if registered before the class date.

Beginning July 1, 2010 marine law enforcement agencies (U.S. Coast Guard, La. Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries and local agencies) will begin issuing citations for violation of the Louisiana law passed last year.

This law states: “No person born after January 1, 1984, shall operate a motorboat powered by a motor in excess of ten horsepower unless he has successfully completed a boating safety class approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).  A person who has completed an approved boating safety class shall be in possession of evidence of such completion when operating such a boat.”

Estimates are that about 8,000 residents of the Northshore still need to complete an approved course before July 1st.  This law also applies to operators of PWCs or Personal Water Craft (otherwise known as jet-skis). However, no person under the age of 16 may operate a PWC at any time.

The need for this class is critical in Louisiana, which ranks fourth in the nation in total boating (and fatal) accidents, only behind California, Florida and Texas. In 2008, there were 39 fatal boating accidents, more than one every two weeks. However, this course is not just for beginners. Experienced boaters, no matter how many years they have been boating, will learn things they did not know. Statistics show that most of the people killed in boating accidents are between 26 and 50 years of age with over 500 hours of boating time, were in calm water and had clear weather conditions, with alcohol being a factor in over half of the fatal accidents.

This boating safety class will give operators the knowledge needed to obtain a boat license or safety certification in many states, including Louisiana. In addition, many boat insurance companies will offer discounts (up to 20%) on boating insurance to those who successfully complete this course.

Among the many topics covered are how to know where you should be in relation to other vessels and which vessel has the right of way; how to read buoys and understand many navigation rules; proper use of navigation lights and anchors; how to safely fuel, load and unload your vessel; what to do in an emergency and how to summon help; proper use of fire extinguishers and flares; and many other skills needed by boaters on the waterways.

Further details and registration are at About Boating Safely. Since class space is limited, pre-registration is highly encouraged. If you pre-register and are unable to attend the class, you will be able to attend another date in 2010 without penalty.

Help the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary improve recreational boating safety and the life you save might be your own. The fine is estimated at $50 and you still will have to take a course, so would you rather pay $80 with the ticket or $30 without the ticket?

See our calendar for other dates and locations at 2010 Calendar.


The Coast Guard has requested Auxiliary Vessel Examiners to assist them in carrying out safety examinations on the boats BP is hiring to carry out missions caused by the oil spill.  If you can join us tomorrow morning and perhaps any day this week, please contact me by e-mail, , for details.

We plan to meet tomorrow morning at 0730 in the lobby of the Freeport McMoran Building, 1615 Poydras St.   The building is directly across the street from the Superdome.  Your parking will be taken care of.

Besides helping the Coast Guard and your State, you will be allowed with this training and experience to challenge for the CFVE Certification.  You will be assigned as a trainee with other qualified examiners tomorrow until qualified.   I have been told qualification can be obtained this week.

Please join us tomorrow if your schedule allows.  The uniform will be ODU’s.  But, I also suggest cool civilian pants, shirt and hat be brought along just in case.

Thank you,

Jim Liverett, DCDR

NEWS From BoatUS

Boat Owners Association of The United States
880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria, VA 22304
BoatUS News Room at
Press Contact:  D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864,
Photo Available at:
Photo caption: An April 28th photo of the oil spill viewed from space
Photo credit: NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response

Recreational Boaters in the Gulf May Need to Contend With Oil Spill

New Orleans, La., April 30, 2010 – It covers 2000 square miles and for now has remained barely a dozen miles offshore. However, the on-going oil spill resulting from last week’s explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drill rig in the Gulf of Mexico has recreational boaters wondering what, if anything, they can do to prevent damage to their boats should the slick come ashore.
Every day tens of thousands of gallons of oil enters Gulf waters, bringing the slick potentially closer to marinas, clubs, boatyards and hundreds of boats. Forecasters say changes in wind direction could see the light oil slick, which some news reports describe as an “iced-tea” like sheen about as thin as a layer of paint, making landfall possibly as early as tomorrow.

What can I do to protect my boat?

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) recommends the following tips for recreational boaters:

  • If your marina or boat club puts oil containment booms in place, do not attempt to cross the booms with your boat. This will only spread the oil and damage the booms or possibly your vessel’s running gear.
  • If there is oil in your marina, refrain from running engines or other devices that have seawater intakes such as air conditioners or refrigerators.
  • Hauling out your boat will prevent damage, but as of press time it was not clear if these costs will be reimbursed by British Petroleum (BP).
  • If the spill is sighted coming toward your marina or already there, call the BP Community Information Hotline at 866-448-5816 to make a report.
  • If your boat comes in contact with the oil, call your insurance company to file a claim. Uninsured boaters can call the BP Hotline at 800-440-0858 to file a claim.
  • Damage to a BoatUS insured’s vessel that is caused by the oil spill is covered. BoatUS members are directed to call 800-937-1937 to file a claim.


Orion, a Visual Distress Signal (flare) manufacturer, has a safety awareness program which offers points toward free products for Vessel Examiners.

See the attached pdf files to see how to qualify!

Orion Safety Awareness Program

Saved by the Signal

It is hard to see on the chart below, but here are the heights and durations of these flares:

  • Pocket Rocket Aerial Flares — 300′ and 6.5 seconds
  • 25MM Aerial Flare — 375′ and 7 seconds
  • Skyblazer II Aerial Flare — 450′ and 6.9 seconds
  • 12 Gauge HP — 500′ and 7 seconds
  • Solas & 25MM Aerial Parachute — 1,000 ‘ and 29-40 seconds
  • Hand-Held Flare — 3 minutes

If you use flares to qualify as your VDS, you must have a minimum of three, which are NOT expired. This is one of the requirements of a Vessel Safety Check and one of the first things the Coast Guard will look for if they board or inspect your vessel.

However, do not throw the expired ones away. Keep them in a separate moisture proof container because they might save your life if you use up the unexpired ones. Expired flares have been known to fire even after 10 or more years, if they are kept dry.  For more information, download this Orion brochure called Saved by the Signal.

TIP #1: If you decide to use a flare gun, CHECK TO SEE THAT THE BARREL OPENS before you ever need to actually use it.  There were some defective guns which accidentally made it to the market that would NOT open and although your chances of getting one of these is slim, it is a good practice to make sure your flare gun is operable before you need to use it. However, DO NOT fire a real flare to “TEST” the gun. This is illegal because if someone sees it and reports it to the Coast Guard, you will be fined when someone shows up to assist you and it was a false alarm. (Much like making a false 911 emergency phone call.)

TIP #2: In an actual emergency if you need to fire a flare, try to wait until you can see or hear an approaching vessel or aircraft because you might be firing into the sky with no one around. Also, after you fire the first one, wait about ten seconds and then fire the second one. This is in case someone sees the first flare but is not sure it was a distress signal. The second flare confirms that they have seen something genuine and then can respond accordingly.

Study the images below and learn the differences in types of flares, their duration and the height to which they rise. It makes a big difference in the distance that they are visible from another vessel.

Learn more about Visual Distress Signals by taking one of our boating safety classes in Mandeville at the Pontchartrain Yacht Club or in Madisonville at the Town Hall. See the 2010 Calendar for dates and locations.

Northlake Flotilla 42 has proudly served the needs of the boating public in Mandeville, Madisonville, Covington and neighboring areas on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain for over 27 years. To learn more about us, becoming a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and how we serve to increase recreational boating safety, visit Contact Us. However, no matter where you live, you are welcome to attend any of our classes.

Yes, Personal Flotation Devices (life jackets) really do save lives, but only if they are worn. 

Not convinced, consider this – In 2008, of the 709 total Fatal Boating Accidents, 510 were by drowning, but only 46 of those who drowned were wearing Life Jackets. In other words, you are 11 times more likely to drown if you are not wearing a Personal Flotation Device.

Learn more about PFDs by taking one of our boating safety courses in Mandeville at the Pontchartrain Yacht Club or in Madisonville at the Town Hall. See the 2010 Calendar for dates and locations.

Northlake Flotilla 42 has proudly served the needs of the boating public in Mandeville, Madisonville, Covington and neighboring areas on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain for over 27 years. To learn more about us, becoming a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and how we serve to increase recreational boating safety, visit Contact Us. However, no matter where you live, you are welcome to attend any of our classes.

Auxiliarists have a great deal to be proud of.

Over the past ten years, Auxiliary members have:

  • Contributed  44,417,850 hours
  • Taught 1,678,946 people with 980,000 hours of classroom work.
  • Spent over 869,000 hours in community relations and media events
  • Conducted 1,170,535 Vessel safety Checks (VSCs) over 579,000 hours, including more than 167,000 first time VSCs and over 158,000 high risk VSCs
  • Made over 418,000 visits Recreational Boating Safety Program Visits spending more than 279,000 mission hours
  • Served 4,297,312 hours underway on safety patrols
  • Worked 56,188 hours on 25,377 missions, verifying 138,867 ATONs
  • Spent over 19,475,000 hours on administrative tasks
  • Examined over 10,223 Commercial Fishing Vessels
  • Provided 1,587,646 hours of Coast Guard Operational Support on over 197,000 Support missions
  • Supported the Coast Guard administratively with  770,554 hours & 115,292 missions
  • Trained over 1,125,019 hours
  • Performed Search and Rescue for over 723,000 hours, resulting in 5,083 lives saved, 141,980 persons assisted, & $1,460,055,940 in property saved.
  • Recruited for The Coast Guard Academy, Active Duty & Reserve Officer and Enlisted programs for  over 105,000 hours
  • Spent more than 700,000 hours on Marine Safety and Environmental Protection missions
  • Contributed more than 22,000 hours in medical support to the Coast Guard
  • Worked more than 39,000 hours in the International arena
  • Consulted with state legislatures for over 5,483 hours

Since 1999, the Coast Guard Auxiliary has participated in events, including but not limited to:

  • OPSail 2000 & USCGC Eagle visits to U.S. ports
  • 9/11 attacks response
  • Hurricanes Charlie, Rita, Katrina, Ike
  • The California Delta Whale Rescue
  • Several oil spills in the gulf coast, Alaska and in California.
  • Annual support for AIM week(s) at the USCGA
  • Annual support for the International Boating and Water Sports Symposia
  • National Association of State Boating law Administrators events
  • Boating Safety Advisory Council
  • Training various waterborne police agencies
  • Support the Coast Guard with Interpreters throughout the world
  • Support as Chefs on CG vessels and stations.
  • Augmenting by Auxiliary Health Professionals at Coast Guard clinics.

We provide the biggest bang for the buck for the American taxpayer.  Each of us should take pride in knowing that we are special group, making a unique contribution to the Coast Guard and our Nation.  Thank you for your service.

COMO Nicholas Kerigan
National Commodore
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Northlake Flotilla 42 conducted an About Boating Safely class today with seventeen students in attendance, the largest safe boating class in well over  a year.  The class took place from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. with all students passing, most with flying colors.

With the approaching deadline of July 1, 2010 for the issuance of citations,  the numbers are only going to grow over the next few months.

The newest mariners to qualify to legally operate a vessel are James Lavigne, Ryan Mathies, Blake Rappold, Marcel Damiens Jr., Jonathan Damiens, Amanda Damiens, Joseph Damiens III, Chris Landry, Harley Derks, Adrian Andre and Wilson Guenard. The other students who were not required to take the course, but wanted to learn more about boating safety are Alan Guenard, Brian Andre, Robert Thomas Jr., Annette Thomas, Marcel Damiens Sr. and newest Flotilla 42 applicant Nathan Eberhardt.

The class was conducted by lead instructor “par excellence” Adrian Diel and assisted by Vice Flotilla Commander Jay Culotta. Having lived his entire life on a boat, Adrian, at 20 years old, is a deep wellspring of knowledge unheard of in mariners more than twice his age.

Flotilla 42 would like to acknowledge and thank the City of Madisonville for the use of the Town Hall. Mayor Peter Gitz and his staff are very gracious and accommodating.

The next scheduled class is May 8, 2010 also at the Madisonville Town Hall. For more information about the Louisiana required safe boating class, click HERE. For the remaining 2010 schedule, click HERE.

Northlake Flotilla 42 proudly serves the needs of the boating public in Mandeville, Madisonville, Covington and neighboring areas on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. To learn more about us, becoming a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and how we serve the needs of the recreational boaters, visit Contact Us. However, no matter where you live, you are welcome to attend any of our classes.

US Coast Guard Auxiliary: Life Jacket PSA from USCG Auxiliary on Vimeo.

There are five types of Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) or Life Jackets as they are commonly known. No matter how uncomfortable (they are NOT) or uncool they seem to be, THEY WORK! But they only work IF you wear one.

Type I PFD: Off-Shore Life Jacket

Type I PFDs provide the most buoyancy. They are designed for offshore and rough water conditions. They come in two sizes, adult and child. The child size is designed with at least 11 pounds of buoyancy while the adult size has at least 22. Type I PFDs are designed to float unconscious victims in the face-up position, no matter how they end up in the water.

Type II PFD: Near-Shore Life Jacket

Type II PFDs should be used in inland waters where there is a reasonable chance of a speedy rescue. They are the typical  orange life jackets that are in the shape of a “U.” They fit over a person’s neck and come down on each side of the chest. Type II PFDs will usually turn some unconscious victims to a face-up position, but not always. These PFDs provide between 7 to 15.5 pounds of buoyancy, depending on infant to adult sizes.

Type III PFD: Flotation Aid

Type III PFDs are designed for inland conditions. These are PFDs worn for specific activities such as fishing vests and kayaking. They are designed for comfort, continuous wear, and for ease of mobility.  They probably won’t turn the wearer to the face-up position in the water. Rather, they tend to float wearers in a vertical position. The definition of Type III PFDs usually contains the word “calm” to describe the water conditions for which they are designed.

Type IV PFD: Throwable Device

Type IV PFDs are carried on boats so they can be thrown to a drowning person. These are either the circular rings found on commercial boats or around swimming pools or on recreational motor boats they are seat cushion style devices. They are not meant to be worn.

Type V PFD: Special Use and Hybrid Devices

These are intended for specific activities and must be used in accordance with the specifications on their labels. Some of the features that may be included in these devices is hypothermia protection, inflatable portions, and work vests.

Inflatable PFDs: Types I-III

Inflatable PFDs are becoming more popular and prevalent. They are the most comfortable type of life jacket but they do have their downsides. Inflatable PFDs offer no flotation until they are inflated. They are not to be used where impact and high speeds are encountered as this can damage the inflation mechanism and in these conditions the person wearing the PFD may be knocked unconscious before they are able to deploy the inflation feature. They are not intended to be used by children and some states have specific restrictions depending on age. They also required more maintenance because the parts that cause the inflation need to be inspected and changed on a regular basis.

Inflatable PFDs are great for use in recreational kayaking and kayak fishing. They come in Type I, Type II, and Type III PFD specifications and are intended for use following the same guidelines.

To learn more about how to select the proper PFD and how to use them, take our About Boating Safely course.

What’s the best type of PFD or Life Jacket?

The one you have on!

This says it ALL!

How NOT to launch your boat!