National Safe Boating Week runs May 16 through 22; with Covid-19 pushing events off calendar, The Log brings you this virtual version of the annual Channel Islands Harbor Safe Boating Expo.
OXNARD—Covid-19-related boating restrictions are easing across the U.S. and despite most events still being off calendar for the foreseeable future, the weather is warming and it’s a great time to get out on the water.
National Safe Boating Week, which runs May 16 through 22, is a good time to refresh on safe and responsible boating and make sure you have all safety measure in place before heading out.
For the past 15 years, Channel Islands Harbor has helped boaters with that through a free Safe Boat Expo, which provided safety demonstrations; air, sea, and fire rescue demonstrations; tours of U.S. Coast Guard vessels; public safety agency booths; and hands-on exhibits. The event also allowed boaters to exchange old life jackets for new ones and turn in expired flares for proper disposable in exchange for a discount on new ones.
The event was scheduled for May 9 but canceled due health concerns surrounding Covid-19. With virus-related restrictions, canceled boating classes and the recent deadly dive boat fire accident in Santa Barbara, refreshing yourself on safety is as important as ever.
The Log spoke with Safe Boating Expo Co-Chairman Henry Goldman about online resources boaters can access to brush up.
“Rather than going to our event, it’s giving the opportunity for everyone to click onto those sites and know everything about safety on the water,” Goldman said. “See what takes place as if we were holding our show.”
Goldman compiled an online version of the 15th Annual Channel Islands Safe Boating Expo 2020, including safety and demonstration videos and information, at safeboatingexpo.com. The site includes topics such as how to use life jackets, fire extinguishers, flares and more.
“With the fire we had in Santa Barbara, people are very conscious of fires on boats,” Goldman said.
Without a physical expo this year, there won’t be the opportunity to handout free new life jackets, but it is still important to check them every year and replace them when needed. Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved, appropriate for your water activity and fits properly. Anyone worried about a life jacket that may have been exposed to the coronavirus can visit safeboatingcampaign.com/news/covid-19-cleaning-and-storing-your-life-jacket/ for information on how to clean it.
Flares are another item boaters should check every year, safeboatingexpo.com provides a video on how to use flares as well as determine if they are out dated. Boaters should check with their local Harbor Patrol Office, fire or sheriff’s department for proper disposal of out dated flares. Those in Channel Islands Harbor can dispose of their flares with the local harbor patrol.
Another major component of the expo is green boating. The California Sate Parks Division of Boating and Waterways encourages boaters to download the free Pumpout App Nav, which will help them locate the nearest pumpout and dumpstation. They can also visit bit.ly/2020BoaterKit to get a free boater kit. More clean boating resources can be found at BoatingCleanandGreen.com.
Last year, NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries Channel Islands collaborated with BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, TowBoatUS Ventura, and the U.S. Coast Guard to produce a video providing tips about visiting marine sanctuaries. It includes a first-hand account and video footage of a disabled recreational fishing vessel in grave trouble at California’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The video can be viewed at youtube.com/watch?v=A0Br1WZYV4I.
With Covid-19-realted requirements and restrictions varying from harbor to harbor, boaters should also make sure to check with their harbor and harbors they plan to visit about those before heading out. Boaters are also encouraged to follow local and state guidelines, including social distancing from those outside their household and wearing face coverings where required.