The Coast Guard urges boaters to use extra caution while enjoying the Labor Day weekend.
Coast Guard law-enforcement crews will be patrolling, conducting safety checks, and watching for people boating while intoxicated or operating in an unsafe manner.
The Coast Guard asks the boating public to monitor weather broadcasts and be aware of current storm advisories. The National Weather Service broadcasts marine weather forecasts regularly. Forecasts can be heard by tuning in to Channels 1 through 5 on a VHF marine radio or by checking the NWS website at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/.
Boaters are reminded to always wear their life jackets, file a float plan with a friend or family member, and are highly encouraged to have a working VHF radio and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon on board. Cell phones are not a reliable means of communication in an emergency at sea.
Remaining vigilant and observing safety and security zones while on the water will contribute to a safe maritime weekend.
An example of a float plan can be found at http://www.floatplancentral.org/.
Additional information on safe and secure boating practices can be found at the Coast Guards Office of Boating Safety Web site at http://www.uscgboating.org/.