Coast Guard safety checks available for boaters
by Amanda Ryker
May 07, 2012 | 1416 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers, Luis Cribeiro, left, and Paul Greiner perform a safety inspection Saturday on Buddy and Marsha Inlow’s boat docked at Allatoona Landing Marina.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers, Luis Cribeiro, left, and Paul Greiner perform a safety inspection Saturday on Buddy and Marsha Inlow’s boat docked at Allatoona Landing Marina. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Mariners on Lake Allatoona had the option to have their boats inspected for safety Saturday by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. The checks mark the first for the upcoming boating season in the Bartow area.

In an effort to decrease drowning incidents, the USCG has vessel safety checks scheduled through June and future dates that are undetermined at this time.

"We had a terrible record last year," USCG Auxiliary volunteer Paul Grenier said. "We have no enforcement, we don't give tickets, we don't do anything like that. We have folks that are trained and look at each boat and see [if the correct] equipment, life jackets and flares for nighttime use are on board. It's a bunch of stuff that the Coast Guard thinks is very helpful for safety purposes."

The Department of Natural Resources reported that seven drownings occurred on Lake Allatoona in 2011.

Boaters who pass the safety check will receive a decal from the USCG as a sign that all requirements were met. If a vessel fails the check, it can be re-inspected and a decal awarded if the deficiencies are corrected.

"In many cases that [decal] can end up giving you a discount on your boating insurance because you made sure it had all the correct safety equipment," Grenier said.

The free check inspects items such as proper display of numbers, registration and documentation, personal flotation devices, life jackets, visual distress signals, fire extinguishers, ventilation, backfire flame control, sound producing devices, navigation lights, state requirements and overall vessel condition.

"While we're showing people the safe way to do things and the right equipment to have on a boat, we also tell them about our boating safety class that is given several times during the summer," Grenier said.

The safety class, offered throughout the summer, requires registration to attend. The prerequisite for all classes is 'About Boating Safely,' which was offered Saturday and will be hosted again Aug. 11 and Sept. 22. Other classes include 'On the Water Training' and 'GPS for Mariners.'

"It's an eight hour class and [covers] everything from your type of boat to markers on the water, safety equipment needed on board, Georgia state law for operating jet skis for young adults," Paul Bartoszewicz, USCG public education officer, said. "There's six separate chapters that we cover ... and most insurance companies will give you a discount on your boat insurance if you pass the boating safety class."

Vessel check times, dates and locations on Lake Allatoona are set for:

* Navy Site: May 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

* Glade: June 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

* Holiday Marina: June 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

* Victoria Harbor: June 16 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

* Harbor Town: June 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Dates and times for Park Marina and Wilderness Camp are not determined at this time. For more information on the safety checks, contact Paul Grenier at cgrenier13417@comcast.net.

For more information on available classes or to register, contact Paul Bartoszewicz at kab1271@earthlink.net or call 770-905-9821.