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Safe Boating Week 2015: Sea Grant Highlights

Sea Grant helps commercial and recreational boaters stay safe.

By Robin Garcia, National Sea Grant Office

Boating can be both a fun activity and an integral part of a community’s economy. However, unsafe boating techniques can be dangerous and costly. NOAA Sea Grant has been working with commercial and recreational boaters, and local government in coastal communities to ensure that recreational boaters are safe, and that commercial boaters remain profitable while reducing their risk of injury.

Here are some projects that Sea Grant programs have completed in safe boating. 

New Jersey Sea Grant’s Clean Marina program aims to improve coastal water quality, enhance recreational boating safety, and sustain marina businesses. Over 200 marinas have participated in the program’s workshops and received guidebooks. The Clean Marina program has led to marinas implementing best management practices that reduce fueling spills, develop emergency response plans, and educate boaters.

Since 1992, the CoastWatch website has provided satellite image data for recreational anglers, charter captains, and the US Coast Guard. Michigan Sea Grant has worked with specialists to enhance site capabilities for the Great Lakes region in response to user requests, including the addition of surface temperature data. The enhanced tools brought almost 200,000 new visitors, including more charter captains and recreational anglers, to the site in 2013. 

Hawaii Sea Grant wrote a Boater’s Hurricane and Tsunami Safety Manuel in 2013, providing 10,000 copies as a free resource for boat owners. Boaters in Hawaii now have access to knowledge about actions that they can take before, during, and after a hurricane or tsunami. 

In response to concerns about improperly stored and derelict boats injuring individuals and damaging property during weather events in Florida’s coastal communities, legal specialists from Florida Sea Grant developed a model anchoring and mooring ordinance in 2013 that local governments could use to regulate anchored vessels. The ordinance was piloted in St. Augustine, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Key West, and Stuart. An engagement process was also implemented, which included public meetings and an opinion survey for stakeholders. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved a three-year extension of the pilot program and all five local governments adopted new anchoring and mooring ordinances. 

Louisiana Sea Grant, with local and national partners, coordinated multiple “Crab Trap Rodeos” in 2012 to remove abandoned crab traps from coastal waters in St. Bernard, Palquemines, and Terrebonne Parishes, as well as Delacroix Island. The removal of derelict crab traps is important for boater safety and harvesting efforts. After three days, over 2500 crab traps were recycled.

A model funded by Oregon Sea Grant provides daily wave forecasts for commercial and recreational boaters. In 2011 Oregon Sea Grant researchers refined the model so that it could be incorporated into NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Prediction and broadly distributed to the general public, decision makers, and researchers.

Learn more:

Safe Boating Week: Ohio Clean Marinas and clean Boater Programs to Expand Statewide

Safe Boating Week: New York Sea Grant Offers Clean and Safe Boating Tips for 2015

Safe Boating Week: Spotlight on Wisconsin Sea Grant Fisheries Outreach Specialist Titus Seilheimer

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