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Afternoon thunderstorms can pop up suddenly along the coast. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you depart and keep your weather eye to the sky and use your VHF radio for updates while on the water. Want to learn more about onboard weather forecasting? See Weather
Sun and wind can make a perfect day on the water become an “Almost Perfect Day.” Learn more how environmental stressors can catch up on you in this 11-minute video from the National Safe Boating Council: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WKMyr16FZ8.
Marine Radio Calls
When using your marine radio, there are three types of emergency calls. “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday” is a distress signal that takes priority over all other radio calls. Use it to call for assistance if there is immediate danger to life or property.
“Pan-Pan, Pan-Pan, Pan-Pan” is an urgency signal. Use it when there is a threat to the safety of a person or boat but not a clear immediate threat to life or property.
“Sécurité, Sécurité, Sécurité” is a safety signal. Use it for navigation safety messages (such as weather alerts, navigational hazard reports, or when a boat is approaching blind bend). http://www.usps.org/edonline/All-About-Marine-Radio.php
Nautical Charts – Paper and Digital
The safest way to explore is to know something about where you are going before you get there! The NOAA Office of Coast Survey has the answers.
Since 1807, this branch of NOAA has been tasked with assisting safe shipping, national defense and maritime boundaries, “ensure safe and efficient maritime commerce on America’s oceans and coastal waters, and in the Great Lakes” (NOAA) Beyond safe travel on the water, NOAA also supplies data that assists decisions making and protects our ecosystems and marine habitats.
There is an “interactive chart locator” to help you identify the charts and publications you need, both in paper form and electronic charts.
Vessel Safety Checks
Be sure your boat has a complimentary vessel safety check every year. To learn what’s covered and run your own pre-check, see the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s online Virtual Vessel Examiner (pictured below). When you’re ready to have your vessel checked, USCGAux Flotilla 10-2 volunteers will be ready to help you!