NATIONAL SAFE BOATING WEEK 2023 SUMMER KICK-OFF
This annual kick-off to summer is highlighted by a variety of events aimed at promoting both fun and water safety. Take advantage of the national exposure in media by participating in some or all of these summertime events that are geared to getting people out on the water. Start with Wear Your Lifejacket at Work Day, leading into National Safe Boating Week, emphasized by such events as Ready, Set, Wear It! and ultimately followed by the season long event of Marina Days.
WEAR YOUR LIFEJACKET TO WORK DAY
National Safe Boating Week 2023 summer kick-off begins with the pre-event Wear Your Life Jacket at Work Day, Friday, on May 19th. Show off your jacket and post a selfie to #lifejacket2work or to their Facebook page.
READY, SET, WEAR IT!
National Safe Boating Week is just one of many summer promotions that the Safe Boating Campaign will be advocating. They also have Ready, Set, Wear It! campaigns across the country. Marinas are encouraged to host / sponsor events that teach the importance of wearing life jackets when in and around the water. The Safe Boating Campaign has free resources to help local marinas and businesses, including event toolkits, flyers, infographics, print ads and more.
Participant businesses can offer a variety of educational events, including:
- boating safety courses
- checking equipment
- making a float plan
- using an engine cut-off switch
- safe travel speeds
- weather awareness
- keeping in touch
Boating Safety Courses
Offer tips and valuable knowledge and on-water experience in a boating safety course, with different levels for novice to experienced boaters. There are a variety of online resources, including free boating courses and certifications. Check these online sites to see which works best for you and your area:
- BoatUS Foundation (state specific)
- BoaterExam (state specific)
- Commander Bob
- NauticEd (small keelboat)
- Safe Boating America (state specific)
- The National Association of State Boating
- US Coast Guard Auxiliary
- US Sailing
- United States Power Squadron
- American Canoe Association
By law, recreational vessels are required to keep certain safety equipment onboard. While some requirements may differ from state to state, depending on the type of vessel, and even location, one thing is constant – being prepared with proper equipment can be the difference between life and death on the water in the event of a major incident. Give your boaters peace of mind by offering a free safety equipment check. From flares, life jackets, batteries, fire extinguishers, to EPIRB’s, showing your customers you have their safety in mind is a great way to build relationships, as well as increased revenues when they are in need of replacing required equipment you happen to keep in stock.
Making a Float Plan
Promoted by the United States Coast Guard, the Float Plan is a simple document filled out with basic information about your boating trip. The plan includes a description of the boat and equipment, who is on board, emergency contact information, where they are going, when they expect to arrive and when they expect to come back. This document is left with someone on shore, but many marinas offer to keep them for anyone interested in filing one.
The Float Plan also includes emergency contact information for everyone on board so the marina can notify the Coast Guard in the event of an emergency. (Tips on filing a Float Plan) Though by no means an exhaustive list, these tips and programs can help educate your marina customers, as well as validate your marina as a safety conscious business with their best interests in mind.
Using an Engine Cut-Off Switch
The Engine Cut-Off Switch law that went into effect in 2021, requires all personal watercraft less than 26 feet, to have and use engine cut-off devices. Many people may simply not be aware of this new development. Owners of older boats should be made aware that their boats can be retrofitted using an ECOS(L) device (engine cut-off switch / link). Entrepreneuring marinas should keep these affordable devices in stock.
Safe Travel Speeds
Unlike driving on the road, where posted speed limits keep you informed about how fast you can safely drive, boat speed regulation is a bit trickier. Limits are not always posted, and involve many factors, including type of waterway, type of boat, even time of day. Add in “no wake zones” and keeping track of safety speeds can be confusing. Having this information posted or available at your facility for new customers and first-time boaters makes everyone’s experience on the water a little more fun as well as safe.
Educating your customers and boaters about weather awareness is pretty much a given. Most people are tethered to their mobile devices, but don’t necessarily use the proper apps to stay informed to the latest weather conditions and changing forecast that could impact their boating experience. Let your marina visitors know which sources are best for keeping abreast of changing conditions – many visitors may be from out of state or other regions, and may not have thought about utilizing a local weather source. Their best source is you!
Keeping In Touch
Let your customers know that it’s always good to have a backup or alternate means of communication, other than their trusty cellphone. In some rural boating areas, cellular reception may be spotty depending on their carrier. VHF radios, emergency locator beacons, or satellite phones can be an important tool in the event of an emergency.
Marina Days 2023
Designated as the time between Memorial Day (May 29, 2023) through Labor Day (September 4, 2023) Marina Days (not to be confused with National Marina Day) is dedicated to promoting and growing marina and boater participation on the United States waterways.
Premiering in 2001, the event has grown from a single day of celebration, to a season long event lasting 4 months, allowing marinas and water related businesses to pick the best time for planning and staging and this event.
For many venues, Marina Days can be a major revenue generating event for their summer business, coming right behind the major holidays.