Do you have a boater on your Christmas gift list? Puzzled about the perfect stocking stuffers for boating friends? You can’t go wrong by thinking boating safety. Brigantine Flotilla 85 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary suggests giving family and friends who are boating enthusiasts a gift of boating safety.

From books to EPIRBS to radios to whistles, there are enough items in every price range to put together a great gift for any boater in your life. Ideally, your family will never be forced to use emergency or survival equipment, however, should an accident happen in the harsh marine environment, it will become the gift that will never be forgotten.

Three of the top gift choices are also some of the most effective pieces of survival equipment. A properly-fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket is a must have. A handheld VHF-FM marine radio is a perfect communication device for our back bays where cell phone service is spotty. A 406 MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon (PPIRB) is truly a save-your-life piece of equipment. There are some great bargains on PPIRB’s this year in the $300 range.

Other gift ideas include: a marine GPS navigation system; a Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher; a first aid kit in a watertight container; a seamanship book; a signaling kit or enrollment in a boating safety course.

If you need a stocking stuffer idea, whistles are a fantastic gift for under $5. A whistle attached to a life jacket can truly be a life saver! Other sound-producing devices, signaling mirrors, flares and neatly rolled nautical charts are all ideal sizes to fit in that stocking and are items any boater could use.

There are also free gift options for those on a tight budget. Several pre-printed blank float plans ready to be filled out before the next boating trip is a great gift. Or schedule a complimentary Vessel Safety Check provided by the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Do you want to learn more about boating safety? Consider becoming part of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Brigantine Flotilla 85 welcomes new members. Come join us at our next meeting, 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21 at the Brigantine Community Center, 265 42nd St. For more information leave a message at 609-926-7607 or email boatsafely@comcast.net.

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