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Keep children safe on your boat: Take a boat safety class

Wow, it’s finally getting warmer and the kids will soon be out of school for the summer. Get ready, it’s time to go boating!

Before getting your children on board and heading out for a day on the water, take a few minutes to think about their safety. Last year more than 650 people died in boating-related accidents and 80% of the victims were not wearing a life jacket. Sadly, some of these victims were children.

Did you know that New Jersey requires children ages 12 and younger to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket aboard recreational vessels? Fact: A life jacket can save a child’s life, but only if they are wearing one appropriate to their age and size. Adult-sized life jackets will not work for children. Special life jackets are available.

To work correctly, a life jacket must be worn, fit snugly, and not allow the child’s chin or ears to slip through. Parents, set the example for your children and wear your life jacket too!

Teach your children about boating safety. Show them how to act and where to be on a moving boat. Remember, a child sitting on the bow of a speed boat is not only illegal, but extremely dangerous. They can easily be tossed overboard even in calm water. All it takes is crossing another boat’s wake at high speed. Please be aware of where your children are on your boat at all times.

Learn more about boating safely. Brigantine Flotilla 85 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary conducts About Boating Safely classes. The next-to-last class for this year will be held Saturday, July 13, starting at 9 a.m. Each class runs eight hours and a lunch is provided. Classes are taught by qualified U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary instructors.

All operators of power vessels and personal watercraft (Jet Ski, Wave Runner, etc.) on waters of the state of New Jersey, regardless of age, are required to possess a boating safety certificate. Upon passing the test at the end of the About Boating Safely class, a New Jersey Boating Safety Certificate will be issued. Class size is limited, so please register now to guarantee availability. You may register by leaving a message at 609-926-7607 or sending an email to boatsafely@comcast.net. A $60 pre-paid registration is required.

In addition to the class on July 13, the final class for 2019 will be offered Saturday, Aug. 10. All classes start at 9 a.m. and are held at the Brigantine Beach Community Center, 265 42nd St. It’s a great activity to do with family or friends.

Class information is also on our website at uscgaux-brigantine-nj.org. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is dedicated to promoting boating safety. Take a safety course and boat smart, boat sober and wear your life jacket!

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