Nan Ellen Fuller conducts vessel safety check for boater Connie Gannaway

Nan Ellen Fuller conducts vessel safety check for boater Connie Gannaway

As the summer boating and water recreation season begins, boaters and those in the marine industry are celebrating Boating Safety Month during May.

Groups like the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and America’s Boating Club Atlanta, formerly known as the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron, have beefed up their boating education classes.

“Since March, we’ve been offering our basic safe boating classes virtually,” said Margaret Sherrod, commander of America’s Boating Club Atlanta. “This is an excellent way for new boaters to learn about the basics of operating their boat, along with the current boating rules and guidelines.”

The club is also offering free Vessel Safety Checks to help ensure that boaters have all the proper and required items on their boats before the season begins. That includes a fully charged fire extinguisher, the proper number and sizes of life jackets and your current registration on board.

Members of the club, who are certified to conduct these checks, will come to your boat and go over the safety items during the check.

“Once the examination is complete and you meet all minimum requirements, you will receive an annual decal to indicate you’ve passed,” said Nan Ellen Fuller with America’s Boating Club Atlanta. “Display of the decal indicates to others that you have taken the important step of completing the annual examination of the legally required safety equipment that must be on board your boat, personal watercraft, or paddle craft.”

People can sign up for the free Vessel Safety Checks at the club’s website:

Celebrate nationally with other boaters; save a life

National Safe Boating Week takes place across the country from May 22-28, and the National Weather Service has partnered with the National Safe Boating Council to raise awareness.

“One of the major components is ‘Wear It,’ to promote proper use of life jackets,” Fuller said. “Children 12 and under are required to wear life jackets anytime they’re on a boat, and it’s a great idea for adults to set the example and do the same. Buckling up your life jacket and wearing it consistently while you’re on the water is one more step to prevent drowning. The simple act of putting on your life jacket can save your life.”

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