August 2020
Using Emergency Distress Signals
Having visual distress signals on your boat isn’t just a good idea—it’s the law.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s boater’s guide outlines which signals are approved for use by day or night, for both recreational and commercial vessels.

Some vessels, such as kayaks, rowboats, and some sailboats, are exempt from these rules during daytime hours, but all vessels must have appropriate signals at night. The rules apply on all bodies of water greater than two miles wide, including coastal waters.

Vessels longer than 16 feet are required to have at least three daytime signals and three nighttime signals—or three signals that can be used both in the daytime or at night. Visual distress signals can be broken down into two categories: pyrotechnic and non-pyrotechnic.

Pyrotechnic distress signals are devices that create light, flame, smoke, or sound, and are designed to make it easier for rescuers to locate troubled vessels. 

Non-pyrotechnic distress signals include a wider range of equipment like marker dyes, SOS distress lights, flags, and signal mirrors. These types of devices last longer than pyrotechnic devices but may not be as immediately visible.

Safety at Sea
Understanding the “rules of the road” when on the water is critical to boating safety. With this in mind, the United States Coast Guard recently posted several Q and A’s to help boaters assess their navigational knowledge. Can you correctly answer the question below?

One of the engines on your twin-outboard center-console has overheated, and now you’re idling back to the marina. As you transit the narrow channel of a coastal river, a commercial vessel comes up behind you and sounds two prolonged blasts of its horn, followed by two short blasts. What is it telling you?

For the answer to this question (and to test your knowledge via more scenario-specific questions), visit:
Due to the Corona virus, Americans are sidestepping many of their typical summer activities. Boating, however, provides summer lovers with a great option for enjoying the outdoors in a safe, socially-distant environment. 

The demand for boats is on the rise, with boat dealers across the U.S. experiencing robust sales. According to the Chicago-based National Marine Manufacturers Association, “U.S. recreational boat sales in May were the highest in a single month since 2007. Among the categories with the highest growth were personal watercraft, saltwater fishing boats, and jet boats, which combined accounted for 41% of total new-boat sales.”

There’s also increased interest in boat-sharing memberships. Freedom Boat Club, an international boat-sharing agency owned by Brunswick Corp (maker of Bayliner boats and Mercury outboard motors), has seen a sharp increase in new memberships. "At first, we weren't sure how the virus was going to affect our business," said John Giglio, president of Freedom Boat Club. "But it quickly went from doom to boom, as we say. We were really surprised that we did so well during the pandemic."