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Public Information Statement

NOUS41 KWBC 151416

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Headquarters Washington DC
900 AM EDT Wed May 15 2013

To:       Subscribers:
          - Family of Services
          - NOAA Weather Wire Service
          - Emergency Managers Weather Information Network
          - NOAAPORT
          Other NWS Partners and NWS Employees

From:     Mark Tew
          Chief, Marine and Coastal Weather Services Branch

Subject:  National Safe Boating Week, May 18-24, 2013

NWS and the National Safe Boating Council will partner for
National Safe Boating Week May 18-24.  The week will
highlight relevant weather and safety-specific Public
Service Announcements for the recreational boating public.
Topics will include:

Sat 5/18: Use of Life Jackets. Before you and your family
get out on the water this year, grab a life jacket and "Wear
It!" Nearly 85 percent of those who drown while boating were
not wearing a life jacket. Wearing a life jacket is one of
the most effective and simple life-saving strategies for
safe recreational boating. Boaters are required to have a
U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on board for every
passenger on their vessel.

Sun 5/19: Vessel Safety Checks.  This boating season, make
sure that you take advantage of the Vessel Safety Check
(VSC), program, a free, no risk service provided in your
area by the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and the US Power
Squadrons. A qualified vessel examiner will conduct an
inspection of all the required safety equipment carried or
installed on a vessel and certain aspects of the vessels
overall condition. Even if you pay careful attention to
safety, dangerous mechanical problems can crop up on the
best-maintained boat. That`s why the U.S. Coast Guard
recommends that all recreational boats (including personal
watercraft) get a free VSC each year.

Mon 5/20: the use of Emergency Position Indicating Radio
Beacons (EPIRBS).  Emergency beacons, through the worldwide
offered service of Cospas-Sarsat, aid in the detection,
location and Search And Rescue (SAR) of boats, aircraft, and
people in distress. When activated  manually or
automatically upon immersion, EPIRBs send out distress
signals,  which are monitored worldwide by satellites.
Except for the expense of buying a beacon, this system is
free. For additional safe boating, some Personal Locator
Beacons (PLBs) are designed for use in water and may be
attached to life vests.  All 406 MHz beacons should be
registered with NOAA. Additional information for emergency
beacons can be found at

Tue 5/21: Understanding a Marine Forecast. Understanding a
marine forecast is critical to safe boating. Weather and
wave conditions can change suddenly, catching boaters off
guard and creating life threatening conditions. Take
particular note of current advisories and warnings,
including Small Craft Advisories, Gale and Storm Warnings
which alert mariners to either high winds or waves occurring
now or forecast to occur up to 24 hours from now. Before
setting out, obtain the latest marine forecast and warning
information from or NOAA Weather
Radio. Several days ahead of time you can begin listening
for extended outlooks that give general information out to
the next 5 days in both graphical and text format.

Wed 5/22: Hypothermia. Hypothermia is a condition in which
body core temperature drops below the required temperature
for normal metabolism and body functions, which is defined
as 95F. If exposed to cold and your body is unable to
replenish the heat that is being lost, a drop in core
temperature occurs. As body temperature decreases, you may
have symptoms such as shivering and mental confusion. Heat
is lost more quickly in water than on land. Water
temperatures that would be quite reasonable on land can lead
to hypothermia in water. A water temperature of 50F often
leads to death in 1 hour and water temperatures hovering at
freezing can lead to death in as little as 15 minutes. Water
at a seemingly warm temperature of 79F will, after
prolonged exposure, lead to hypothermia.

Thu 5/23: Thunderstorm Safety. Thunderstorms can be a
mariners worst nightmare. They can develop quickly and
create dangerous wind and wave conditions. Thunderstorms can
bring shifting and gusty winds, lightning, waterspouts, and
torrential downpours that turn a days pleasure into a
nightmare of distress. A lightning strike to a vessel can be
catastrophic, especially if it results in a fire or loss of
electronics. If your boat has a cabin, stay inside and avoid
touching metal or electrical devices. If your boat doesnt
have a cabin, stay as low as you can in the boat.
Ultimately, boating safety begins ashore with planning and
training. Keep in mind that thunderstorms are usually brief
so waiting it out on land in a safe building or vehicle is
better than riding it out.

(Fri 5/24) Boating under the influence. The effects of
alcohol and drugs are just as hazardous on the water as on
land. Boating Under the Influence, or BUI, affects judgment,
vision, balance and coordination. These impairments can
increase the risk of being involved in a boating accident
for both passengers and boat operators. Alcohol is a
contributing factor in about a third of all recreational
boating fatalities.  It is illegal in every state to operate
any boat or watercraft while under the influence of alcohol
or drugs.

For more information on hazardous weather and boating
safety, visit the following websites:

or contact:

Wayne Weeks
NWS Coastal and Marine Services

NWS Public Information Statements are online at: