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Disclaimer:   I am not a spokesperson for the US Coast Guard. For an official interpretation of regulations you must contact the US Coast Guard or other organization referenced..   More..... 

Boating Safety

USCG Notices


News Release  

Sept. 16, 2022
U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area
Contact: Coast Guard Pacific Area Public Affairs
Pacific Area online newsroom

Coast Guard study recommends establishing voluntary fairways to support safe navigation along West Coast

Coast Guard study recommends establishing voluntary fairways to support safe navigation along West Coast info graphic

Editors' Note: Click on images to download high resolution version.

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Coast Guard requests public comment on the draft Pacific Coast Port Access Route Study (PAC-PARS).

Federal Register Notice of Availability for the draft PAC-PARS has been opened for comment. Comments and related materials must be received on or before Oct. 25, 2022.

This is the first comprehensive evaluation of vessel traffic patterns that use Pacific coastal waters off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.

The main goal of the PAC-PARS is to evaluate historic and future waterway usage to determine navigational risk and provide recommendations to uphold safety of navigation. To do this, the study examined vessel tracking data from the past 10 years and considered environmental data, existing and planned offshore development infrastructure, and historical marine incident data among other datasets.

The Coast Guard also considered concerns and recommendations from key maritime stakeholders and members of the public. Prior to this public comment period, the Coast Guard received comments during two previous public comment periods spanning over 200 days.

“There has been significant growth of waterway use along the Pacific Coast; we are committed to maintaining a high level of navigational safety for all members of the maritime community,” said Lt. Cmdr. Sara Conrad, activities chief for Coast Guard Pacific Area Port and Facilities. “This draft study provides recommendations that facilitate safe vessel transits along the coast and connect to major port approaches in light of the increasing demand for use of our waterways.”

The draft PAC-PARS recommends establishing new voluntary fairways for coastwise and nearshore vessel traffic with connections to existing Traffic Separation Schemes and ports. These fairways would facilitate safe and predictable traffic patterns as the demand for and use of Pacific coastal waters increases. Charts of these recommended fairways can be found in Appendix I, II, and III of the study.

The public can also view the study in a more user-friendly manner at USCG Navigation Centers website The Coast Guard posted the study to a Homeport webpage where the most current information about upcoming webinars and outreach activities will be posted.

A Notice of Availability for the draft study was published on the Federal Register under docket USCG-2021-0345, and can be found by searching the docket above at


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Coast Guard urges boating safety this summer across PNW

News Release  

U.S. Coast Guard 13th District Pacific Northwest
Contact: 13th District Public Affairs
Office: (206) 220-7237
After Hours: (206) 251-3237
13th District online newsroom

Coast Guard urges boating safety this summer across PNW

Boating Safety Paddle Responsibly Wear It!

SEATTLE — The Coast Guard urges boaters to be ready this National Safe Boating Week as summer nears the Pacific Northwest.

This year National Safe Boating Week takes place Saturday through May 27. National Safe Boating Week 
promotes safe boating practices for recreational boaters in order to reduce preventable accidents and deaths. The Coast Guard encourages boaters to become safer, always ready boaters this 2022 boating season.

As air temperatures rise with the arrival of summer, be advised that water temperatures in the Pacific Northwest remain dangerously cold.

In 2020 in the U.S., 86% of drowning victims who died were not wearing a life jacket. 
Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Where the primary cause was known, alcohol was listed as the leading factor in 18% of deaths.

Factors that contributed most to fatal accidents were: failure to wear a life jacket, operator inattention or inexperience, alcohol and drug use, hazardous waters, weather conditions, and navigation rule violations.

Don’t forget: life jackets are required by law to be on all vessels, including kayaks, canoes and paddleboards. Federal law requires that all children ages 13 and under wear a life jacket.

Below are steps you can take to ensure a fun time out on the water this boating season:

  • Check the weather. Check the marine weather forecast prior to setting out on the water. Boating Safety Tips and Resources ( Check It!
  • Wear protective clothing to help reduce exposure. Boaters and paddlers should always wear the proper protective clothing for the water temperatures they are recreating in (such as a dry suit). The waters of the Pacific Northwest are deceptively colder than the air temperature, especially in the early spring and summer months. This risk is not often recognized by inexperienced paddlers until they find themselves in the frigid water after capsizing or falling overboard.
  • Wear a life jacket. The Coast Guard urges all boaters and paddlers to wear (not stow/bring) a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Donning a life jacket is much harder once you’re in the water, especially if you’re fatigued or injured. Wearing an improperly fitted life jacket is just as deadly as not wearing one at all. Wear It!
  • Identify your paddle craft with an “If Found” sticker. Placing an “if found, please call” sticker on your paddle craft, with your contact information, can not only get your craft returned to you quickly should it accidently drift away, but it can also help rescuers to determine the type of response needed. If you’re looking for stickers you can contact your local marine law enforcement agency, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power and Sail Squadron, or local Coast Guard unit. Mark It!
  • Take a boating safety course. Research show that boaters believe they are boating safely if they have proper equipment and training, though statistics show that safe boating is really a matter of their own behavior. Take It!
  • Get a Vessel Safety Check. Get a free Vessel Safety Check inspection from the Coast Guard Auxiliary. VSCs are offered by experienced members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. A VSC is your best way of learning about problems that might put you in violation of state or federal laws or, worse, create danger for you or your passengers on the water. Get It!
  • Have a Courtesy Vessel Safety Check at Your Boat!! (
  • Always boat sober. Never boat under the influenceIt is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.

These simple steps can ensure you are prepared to enjoy the water safely and responsibly.



united states coast guard (I have highlighted two areas of interest to boat operators)


Wednesday March 10, 2021

News Release  

U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters
Contact: Headquarters Public Affairs
Office: (202) 372-4630
Headquarters online newsroom

U.S. Coast Guard Announces New Law Requiring Use of Engine Cut-off Switches


WASHINGTON - Operators of recreational vessels less than 26 feet in length will be required to use an engine cut-off switch (ECOS) and associated ECOS link (ECOSL) as of April 1, 2021, as the U.S. Coast Guard implements a law passed by Congress.


The ECOS and ECOSL prevent runaway vessels and the threats they pose. The ECOSL attaches the vessel operator to a switch that shuts off the engine if the operator is displaced from the helm. The ECOSL is usually a lanyard-style cord that attaches to an ECOS either in close proximity to the helm or on the outboard motor itself if the vessel is operated by a tiller. When enough tension is applied, the ECOSL disengages from the ECOS and the motor is automatically shut down. Wireless ECOS have recently been developed and are also approved for use. These devices use an electronic “fob” that is carried by the operator and senses when it is submerged in water, activating the ECOS and turning the engine off. Wireless devices are available on the aftermarket and are beginning to become available as manufacturer-installed options.


Each year the Coast Guard receives reports of recreational vessel operators who fall or are suddenly and unexpectedly thrown out of their boat. These events have led to injuries and deaths. During these incidents the boat continues to operate with no one in control of the vessel, leaving the operator stranded in the water as the boat continues on course, or the boat begins to circle the person in the water eventually striking them, often with the propeller. These dangerous runaway vessel situations put the ejected operator, other users of the waterway, and marine law enforcement officers and other first responders in serious danger.


Section 503 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 required manufacturers of covered recreational boats (less than 26 feet in length, with an engine capable of 115 lbs. of static thrust) to equip the vessel with an ECOS installed as of December 2019. Owners of recreational vessels produced after December 2019 are required to maintain the ECOS on their vessel in a serviceable condition. It is recommended that recreational vessel owners regularly check their existing ECOS system to ensure it works, following manufacturer’s instructions.


Section 8316 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 requires individuals operating covered recreational vessels (less than 26 feet in length, with an engine capable of 115 lbs. of static thrust; 3 HP or more) to use ECOS “links.” Using the ECOSL is required only when the primary helm is not within an enclosed cabin, and when the boat is operating on plane or above displacement speed. Common situations where ECOSL use would not be required include docking/trailering, trolling and operating in no-wake zones.  


The Coast Guard believes that the overwhelming majority of recreational vessels produced for decades have had an ECOS installed, so this new use requirement simply obligates recreational vessel operators to use critical safety equipment already present on their boat.


Seven states currently have ECOS use laws for traditional recreational vessels, and 44 states have ECOS use laws for personal watercraft (PWC).


Boaters are encouraged to check the U.S. Coast Guard website for additional information on this new use requirement and other safety regulations and recommendations:





united states coast guard

News Release  

U.S. Coast Guard 5th District Mid-Atlantic
Contact: 5th District Public Affairs
Office: (757) 398-6272
After Hours: (757) 295-8435
5th District online newsroom

Coast Guard Sector Virginia reminds boaters of cold water dangers

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Coast Guard Sector Virginia reminds recreational boaters and paddlers to be mindful of the inherent dangers of cold water temperatures as air temperatures rise in the region.

Despite air temperatures increasing to spring-like conditions through the weekend, the ocean, Chesapeake Bay, rivers, and surrounding lakes in the area remain significantly colder. 

Cold water can be particularly dangerous this time of year because warmer air temperatures can encourage people to dress for warmer weather, without realizing the water temperature is drastically different. Even with forecasted highs this weekend in the low 70s in some parts of the region, the water temperature in the Chesapeake Bay near Cape Henry is only 42 degrees with other bodies of water displaying similar cold temperatures.

“Dressing for the water temperature, not the air temperature, and wearing a lifejacket are the best ways to increase your chance of survival should you fall in cold water,” said Lt. Mitchell Latta, a Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator at Sector Virginia. “Not only do life jackets keep you afloat, they provide insulation and make you visible to responders. Therefore, having a life jacket on before entering the water is key.”

Roughly 20% of people who fall into cold water die within the first minute due to shock. Even the strongest swimmers lose muscle control after 10 minutes of being exposed to cold water, making it nearly impossible to put on a life jacket and call for help. 

Boaters and paddlers should also have a VHF-FM marine radio on hand to call for help during an emergency and bring along other safety equipment such as EPIRBS, first aid kits and dewatering equipment. A full list of safety gear visit

For more information on how to stay safe on the water, please visit The Coast Guard Auxiliary’s boating safety website at or contact your local Coast Guard Auxiliary Unit at


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