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Posts Tagged ‘Louisiana Required Safe Boating Class’

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

985-845-9366

jay@jay-culotta.com
http://uscgaux-northlake.com

May 4, 2010

PRESS RELEASE:

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.

###

One of our members, Capt. Noel Brumfield, whose day job is to maintain the entire Causeway bridge (everything under the actual roadway), came up with this idea to promote boating safety and the required Louisiana safe boating course.

Shortly we hope to plaster business doors, cars and anything that moves with these bumper stickers to get out the message that people born after January 1, 1984 must take this course to avoid receiving a citation by the Coast Guard, Wildlife and Fisheries or local law enforcement. Citations will be issued beginning July 1st.

So, do you want to pay $25-$30 now or as much as $80 (or more) later?

The choice is yours up to the moment you leave on the voyage when you get the ticket. Then it’s too late! And don’t forget the added bonus of saving up to 20% on your boat insurance (from most major companies) with the proof you have completed the course.

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.

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.