Start the season right with a boat safety check

I've had my boat inspected by the US Power Squadron.  I've even taped the inspection so that people can see how simple and painless it is.

To view the show here on ChicagoNow, click on the Illinois Outdoors TV link above or CLICK HERE Scroll down the list of shows and click on the BOAT SAFETY CHECK link.

The US Coast Guard and US Power Squadrons expect to complete over 200,000 voluntary Vessel Safety Checks this year. The no-cost, no-risk courtesy inspections, done at boat ramps, marinas and boat clubs, have ensured the safety of thousands of lives.

If you are ever stopped by law enforcement, the Vessel Safety Check program can also help prevent citations by ensuring your boat meets federal, state and local safety equipment requirements, such as the proper display of registration numbers and documentation.

With a safety check you'll learn of both the required and recommended items to have aboard, such as fire extinguishers, life jackets, distress signals, first aid kits, and engine spark arrestors, and also helps provide a better understanding on the care and use of this critical equipment. Additional items covered include the use of local navigation charts, float plans, safe refueling, ventilation, marine heads, weather, sea conditions, survival tips and more.

To find a US Coast Guard Auxiliary or US Power Squadron Vessel Safety Check examiner near you, go to www.safetyseal.net/GetVSC.

Now this is really a big help.  Before making the call to have your boat inspection do a self-inspection of your boat by first going to www.safetyseal.net/what_is_vsc.asp.  On this page you'll learn about everything you will need to pass with flying colors.

If you would like to see a list of what many boaters fail to have in required items and recommended ones, visit www.safetyseal.net/vsc_stats.asp.  Over 100,000 boats were used to collect these numbers.

Braidwood Lake opens on March 1 and many anglers will be pulling their boats out of storage to head to the Illinois River for sauger.  Get your boat checked before taking it out for the first time this spring

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