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Work on these basic boat safety tips now and you will be better prepared for spring boating:

> Have an assistant
   skipper: ensure
   someone else has
   taken a boating
   course and knows
   how to drive the
   boat

> Know the rules of
   the water: just like
   on the road, there
   are rules and
   regulations that
   need to be followed

> Check the list:
   make a checklist
   and verify
   everything on
   it before going
   on the water

> Take swimming
   lessons: an
   important skill to
   have when you
   intentionally or
   accidentally end
   up in the water

Get more boating tips here.

fast fact white
The Atlantic Ocean covers approximately 20 percent of the Earth's surface and is second in size to the Pacific. It derives its name from the Greek god, Atlas.



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e-News for February 2017 

United States and Cuba Create Groundbreaking New Chart
For the first time during the modern era, the United States and Cuba have joined together to create an international paper chart (INT 4149). 

Plans for the joint charting product began last spring, after the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) aimed at improving maritime navigation safety and related areas of mutual interest. 

Read more about the MOA and INT 4149 here.
When is it Time to Get a New Chart?
Have you ever wondered when it is time to replace a chart? NOAA's new webpage can help. The webpage contains weekly chart updates that inform mariners of chart updates on charts they already own. The idea is to give users the ability to visually identify where all changes are occurring. The chart updates provide users with information about specific changes in water depths, shoreline, obstructions or other features on NOAA's nautical charts. 

With that information, the chart user can determine if and when to purchase an updated paper chart or download an updated raster or electronic navigational chart. 

Read more about NOAA's weekly chart updates webpage here.
Coast Guard Warns of Dangerous Ice Conditions
The U.S. Coast Guard is warning that the warmer weather could create safety risks for those planning activities on or near ice or cold water. Unseasonably warm air temperatures will cause frozen bodies of water to melt at an extremely fast rate, but water temperatures can stay deadly cold even with warmer weather. 

The Coast Guard says to look for signs of thinning ice: cracks, seams, slushy areas and darker areas. Also, ice near the shore of frozen lakes may be weaker and unsafe because of shifting, expansion, wind and sunlight reflecting from the bottom. 

Read more about dangerous ice conditions here.
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