The BoatUS Foundation’s Teens Afloat Program helps keep teens safe on the water by offering discounted vest-style life jackets – at just $5 – to non-profit summer camps, schools, or any local non-profit organization providing on-the-water educational programming for teens. Now is the time to help your group get in on the discount.
Made possible through a donation from the National Marine Bankers Association, the goal of the program is to provide an affordable way to keep teens safe while they participate in educational programs on local waters. Groups interested in getting life jackets may apply using an online application located at http://boatus.com/Foundation/TeensAfloat/ by a March 31 deadline. After applications are received, the Foundation will choose the applications that best match grant guidelines and post them on the Foundation’s website and Facebook page for a public vote in April.
“We’ve received many requests over the years from groups providing these kinds of on-the-water educational programs to teens that desperately need life jackets,” said BoatUS Foundation Program Manager Alanna Keating. “These programs are great ways to give teens a chance to experience being on the water and at the same time educate them on the importance of life jacket wear. We also hope that involving the public with voting helps to promote these programs,” she added.
The Teens Afloat program is for groups currently offering on-the-water programs, such as educational boat trips, canoe and kayak excursions that include safe and clean boating in their curriculum. However, groups that don’t currently include safe and clean boating in their educational programs can also apply if they commit to add these topics to their programming. “Our ultimate goal is see these kinds of educational programs grow – and keep teens safe while they’re participating in them,” added Keating.
The life jackets offered are Type III vests – the most comfortable non-inflating type available that normally retail for about $30 each. Applicants are allowed to request from 10 to 50 life jackets in increments of 10. For more information in including application guide lines, go to http://www.boatus.com/Foundation/TeensAfloat/.
With above average temperatures throughout most of the country this year, the U.S. Coast Guard is urging that individuals who choose to recreate on frozen lakes and rivers to take proper safety precautions after two events demonstrated the danger and unpredictability of ice in the Great Lakes.
There were no injuries reported during the two incidents.
Seven individuals were rescued after being stranded on an ice floe about 300 yards from Riley’s Bay in Green Bay. A rescue boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay, Wis., aboard a 22-foot Special Purpose Craft—Airboat, and a rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., were dispatched to the scene, but all seven people were assisted by local authorities prior to their arrival.
Also 36 cars reportedly fell through the ice on Lake Winnebago during an ice fishing tournament. There were no injuries or pollution reported and tow trucks were called to remove the cars from the water.
“The ice conditions we’ve seen so far on the Great Lakes have been remarkably unpredictable,” said Capt. Steve Torpey, chief of response for the 9th Coast Guard District. “The relatively warm weather has made for some particularly treacherous situations, and we were very lucky there were no human tragedies in either of these incidents.”
The Coast Guard wants to remind the public to make a serious investment and commitment to ice safety on the Great Lakes, since varying levels of ice thickness are common on the Great Lakes. If people do choose to go on to the ice, however, they should remember the acronym I.C.E. — Intelligence, Clothing, Equipment.
- Intelligence: know the weather and ice conditions, know where you’re going, and know how to call for help
- Clothing: have proper clothing to prevent hypothermia; dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature
- Equipment: have proper equipment: marine radio, life jackets, screw drivers/ice picks, etc
Although air temperatures may seem relatively warm, lake temperatures remain extremely cold. Immersion into icy water quickly leads to hypothermia and possibly death within minutes.
There are reasons that you should not waterski close to other boats and the shoreline. At least they had on life jackets and helmets. For more information on rules concerning waterskiing go to the Nautical Know How Basic Boating Course.
With fuel prices soaring in many parts of the country, fuel prices continue to be a concern for boaters, making fuel conservation an economical issue as much as an environmental one. (I heard on the news this morning that parts of Florida have gas at over $6.00 per gallon.) As you start to gear up for the upcoming boating season, learn how to save money at the marina pump while still enjoying your boat this summer.
1. Keep your boat engine tuned. A boat that is running properly will usually use less fuel than a boat that does not. Even a small problem can cause your engine to work harder and less efficiently.
2. Don’t tow excess water. Emptying water out of pontoons and keeping your bilge and head dry for a single day of fun on the water makes your boat lighter. The lighter the boat, the less fuel needed to propel it through the water.
3. Turn off the engine. Whether you’re waiting for a water-skiier to regroup, fishing, or just chatting with other boaters, turn off the engine instead of idling in the water. Idling wastes fuel and may emit carbon monoxide fumes.
Every boater can practice these conservation tips without spending an extra penny or making any changes to their existing vessel.