U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary boating class

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SOUTH COAST — The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offers the following information for boaters: 

Required equipment for typical recreational motor boats 16-26 feet includes wearable personal flotation devices for each person on board in good condition and the appropriate size.

In addition, a throwable floatation cushion in good condition is required. A fire extinguisher (in the “green”) is required for any boat having enclosed compartments for fuel and an outboard or inboard engine.

A sound producing device is required for all boats that can consist of a boat horn, whistle, electric horn, or portable compressed gas horn. Navigation lights are required to be operational for periods of low visibility sunset to sunrise that consist of a forward red and green light and an elevated white anchor light visible 360 degrees. A visual distress device is required (with variations) based on where operating.

Boat flares are required when operating in the ocean. Boat flares must have a current date. The boat registration (called a Certificate of Number) is required to be on board. Displayed OR numbers and current decal are provided with current registration.

An Oregon Boater Safety Education Card is required to be in possession by the operator for engines over 10 HP. Different types of boat configurations and operating areas may dictate different legal requirements that a Vessel Safety check by a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary examiner can check for compliance. When a boat meets the requirements an annual decal for display is issued. 

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary also makes recommendations that are not legally required however are strongly encouraged for local waters:

An anchor with a short length, 4-8 feet, of chain and 150 feet or more of line is essential when operating in tidally influenced waters and the ocean. Anchors are intended to be effective at an angle away from the boat with a length of line between 5-8 times the depth of the water.

A marine VHF radio is the primary method of hailing for assistance on channel 16 from the U.S. Coast Guard and nearby boaters. The marine VHF radios operate on a “line of sight” principle between the operator and the shore station or other boats. VHF radio models may have additional features to expedite a rescue.

A cell phone may work with limitations, if dry, within range, and if you have the correct number saved. Citizen Band radios are considered obsolete. The state-of-the-art safety device is called a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). It is a wearable device attached to your life jacket. The PLB upon manually activated sends a signal to a satellite, then relayed to an onshore U.S. Coast Guard Communications Center which will dispatch rescue units. 

Oregon and U.S. Coast Guard boating regulations and related literature are available at Englund Marine in Charleston.

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