Sunday, April 22 , 2018, 7:33 pm | Fair with Haze 60º


Safe Boating Practices Are Lifesavers

Summer boating season is here, and whether it’s sailing, fishing, kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding, the Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol encourages water-lovers to review the following boating safety tips. They just might save a life.

» Life jackets or personal floatation devices (PDF) are the keys to boating safety and are required aboard all vessels, including paddle boards, kayaks and skiffs.

» Make sure life jackets are U.S. Coast Guard-approved and appropriate for the activity.

» Children under age 13 must wear a life jacket when underway on all boats, unless restrained by a tether on a sailboat, or in an enclosed cabin.

» Inflatable PFDs must be worn at all times, are not approved for children under 16 and are not recommended for weak swimmers or non-swimmers, or where immersion is expected.

» Try on the PFD to ensure a proper fit. Adult life jackets are not safe for children.

» Don’t drink and drive a boat. Studies have estimated that alcohol is involved in about 25 percent of all motorboat-related fatalities. If convicted of BUI, a person may be sentenced to jail for up to six months and assessed fines up to $1,000.

» Check the weather. Review marine weather forecasts and monitor changing conditions.

» Comply with California Boating Laws. Review the ABCs of California Boating at and contact Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol if you have questions.

» Be prepared. Santa Barbara Sail & Power Squadron and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offer free vessel safety checks and boating safety classes.

» File a Float Plan with a friend or relative. If you don’t communicate your safe return, they should contact Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol or USCG.

» Communication devices are critically important to have on board in case of emergency. VHF radios, cell phones, satellite phones, emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB) and personal locator beacons can all contribute to your safety.

To learn more about safe boating contact Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol at (805) 564-5530, or visit

— Stephen McCullough for city of Santa Barbara.

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