Boating Safety Resources

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In 2018 there were 378,000 registered boats in North Carolina. There were 34 boating accidents reported the same year for New Hanover and Brunswick County. Operator inexperience and inattention are leading causes in boating accidents with the bulk occurring in the ICW. Help keep yourself and fellow boaters safe on the water. Taking a refresher course is a great place to start.

If you are new to boating or you’re looking for a refresher course, you can find some great educational resources for free. BoatU.S. Foundation, Power Squadron and the USCG Auxiliary offer some great boater safety courses.

Float Plans

A float plan is a simple way to let your family and friends know where you and your boat will be. It will provide valuable information to search and rescue efforts should their be an incident. Set up your basic float plan and save it to your computer, then update it when you decide where you are going. E-mail your float plan to the person you trust to follow up if you don’t return as planned. You can download the US Coast Guard float plan and Emergency Guide here.

Vessel Safety Check

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary provides vessel safety checks free of charge. A vessel safety check ensures that your boat meets USCG safety standards and that you have all of the necessary equipment in case of an emergency. Not only will you have some peace of mind that your vessel is safe you may be eligible for an insurance discount. Once your boat passes a safety check you will receive a decal to display showing that your vessel was in full compliance at the time of the safety check. During the safety check some of the items that will be inspected are: life jackets, registration, navigation lights, fire extinguishers and distress signals. To schedule a vessel check, contact your local USCG Auxiliary or visit the USCG Auxiliary website.

United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Free Downloads

What you need to know about the markers on the water. This book will give you the basic information you need to know about US Aids to Navigation. This booklet also provides the basics of reading nautical charts. Download the USCG ATONs booklet below.

Provided by NOAA, The United States Coast Pilot is a series of books containing important navigational information supplemental to charts. US Coast Pilot covers channel descriptions, anchorages, bridge and cable clearances, currents, tide and water levels, prominent features, pilotage, towage, weather, ice conditions, wharf descriptions, dangers, routes, traffic separation schemes, small-craft facilities, and Federal regulations applicable to navigation. Download Volume 4, Chapter 5 below – covering Cape Lookout to Cape Fear.

North Carolina Wildlife provides a quick reference guide on the requirements of North Carolina’s Boating Laws and regulations. Download a copy below.

Did you know that all children under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket while underway unless they are below deck? Learn more about life jackets by downloading the guide from the United States Coast Guard.

We’re working on gathering some more resources… keep your trunks on.

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