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Saturday, May 25, 2024
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Vessel Safety Checks are a good way to spend National Safe Boating Week

By Dave Anderson, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Division Chief –– Marketing

Not long ago, I got to give a speech to the Friends of the Wirtanen Farm who maintain the pioneer Finnish homestead in Markham, MN. The folks wanted to learn about volunteer opportunities in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxilia­ry, the boating safety wing of the Coast Guard of which I’ve been a member for 25 years. Re­tired Army National Guard Brigadier General Ronald Hien who is now a leader of the Saint Louis County Historical Society was there, too. It turns out he was an Auxiliarist with the Lake Vermilion Flotilla back in the day!

Old Auxiliarists like Ron and I or new Aux­iliarist like our youngest members are fired up right now for National Safe Boating Week 2024, which will run May 18th to 24th. As al­ways, the number one rule of safe boating is to have a good condition, Coast Guard approved life jacket on at all times when on the water. Trying to get one on time in the midst of an accident is often a losing proposition. Rule number two would be to file a float plan with friends or neighbors whenever heading out. They can call rescuers if you don’t come home in time. And the third would be to have a reliable communication device to use in time of trou­ble. A cell phone can work in areas with good coverage but your best bet remains a VHF ma­rine radio.

A good way to make sure your boat is ship shape is to get a free vessel safety check. A ves­sel safety check is not a law enforcement board­ing. Boats that don’t pass don’t get reported to any government agencies but the owners do get a list of things that need repair.

To learn more about how to file a float plan, arrange a vessel safety check or find out about volunteer opportunities with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, go online to cgaux.org and explore. We’d love to have you join us in our Worthy Missions and Proud Traditions!

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