Alliance for Safe Navigation Shares Spring Commissioning Resources

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Boating industry leaders join forces to encourage boaters to use updated navigational tools.

During our Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel safety checks, we always ask if boaters have updated charts onboard

The Alliance for Safe Navigation, whose mission is to raise boater awareness about the importance of up-to-date navigational information, today announced the availability of a resource tool for boaters to use as part of their spring commissioning. The information offers direction on how to update electronic and paper charts and provides links to boat safety courses, a safety checklist and vessel exams.

Having accurate navigational tools—namely, updated charts—is not only useful but a responsibility of mariners. “During our Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel safety checks, we always ask if boaters have updated charts onboard,” explains Ed Martin, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Prevention Department, Branch Chief for the Chart Updating Program. “That’s because paper and electronic charts must be constantly maintained to reflect any changes by man or nature. Boaters need to use the most up-to-date charts available, and I recommend boaters turn to the resources available on the Alliance for Safe Navigation website for information on keeping charts updated.”

Statistics show the benefits of keeping charts updated are plentiful. Two such benefits are saving money through lower insurance rates and fewer repairs to vessels. Results of the annual survey conducted by the alliance showed 25% of respondents experienced a grounding within the last five years. Boat repairs needed as a result of those groundings were as high as $10,000.

Further statistics, from the U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics, demonstrates the need for accurate navigational tools. In 2011, collisions with fixed, floating or submerged objects resulted in $7.1 million in damages (and 81 deaths) to vessels (second only to non-fuel fires or explosions).

Sea Tow Services International Inc. is one of the nation’s leading on-water assistance providers, each year assisting nearly 50,000 boaters. Capt. Joseph Frohnhoefer III, chief operations officer, adds, “With our extensive experience servicing boaters on the water, we know that wearing life jackets and carrying updated charts—and reviewing those charts and planning your voyage prior to leaving the dock—is always a good idea because the unexpected can happen to anyone at any time.”

One proactive measure boaters can take is to carry up-to-date navigational tools. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) issues Local Notice to Mariners (LNMs) that contain changes to charts that are necessary due to obstructions, shifting shoals, changes in aids, etc. Most electronic navigation systems in use today offer easy and inexpensive updates that are an essential part of the annual “electronics tune-up.” Yet according to the alliance’s survey, boaters tend not to update their electronic charts or track these changes: 70 percent of respondents said they were either aware of LNMs but didn’t obtain them or they were not aware of LNMs at all.

As part of spring commissioning, the alliance encourages boat owners and passengers alike to take a boating safety course. A list of courses can be found either with the U.S. Coast Guard or NASBLA.

About the Alliance for Safe Navigation

The Alliance for Safe Navigation (http://www.allianceforsafenavigation.org) consists of industry leaders that all share a commitment to boating safety. The goal of the alliance is to raise the boating community’s understanding of and appreciation for up-to-date navigational information. The alliance encourages mariners to recognize the high number of changes made to their charts and to keep their electronic and paper charts accurate, which is inexpensive and easy. Sponsored by NOAA, the alliance is made up of BoatU.S., Jeppesen, OceanGrafix, the Sea Tow Foundation, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons.

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Jené Leiner
The Cypress Group
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