With National Boating Safety Week and ATV Safety Week heralding the arrival of the summer recreational season, a new app and some free training are available to encourage enthusiasts on water and land to kick-off their summer outdoor adventures safely.
1. Boating Safety App
The mobile boating safety app released by the United States Coast Guard is designed to provide extra boating safety resources in addition to the marine VHF radio that the agency strongly recommends that all boaters have aboard their vessel. The new app is available on the Apple and Google Play online stores, and features an Emergency Assistance button that can enable location services to call the nearest Coast Guard command center. Included in the app is a safety equipment checklist, navigation rules, and a calling feature to report pollution or suspicious or dangerous activity on the water. Once the location services have been enabled, users can get the latest weather reports for their area, or report locations of any hazards they spot. For more information on Boating Safety Week and other helpful boating resources, visit SafeBoatingCouncil.org.
2. ATV Institute FREE Rider Training
For the second year in a row, the ATV Safety Institute is providing free rider training and safety education through a network of partners across the country in order to promote their “Golden Rules” for safe riding and to teach proper operation of these powerful machines in a course that covers information from choosing and using helmets and protective gear to rules of the trail that keep drivers out of danger. The course is free to anyone meeting age requirements who signs up during ATV Safety Week June 6-14. Go to the website and click on the ATV Safety Week logo. Locations of these courses are listed on the training page, with additional locations being added as needed to meet demand. Riders can also sign up by calling 1-800-887-2887. The ATV Safety Institute also offers a free online E-course in three age-specific categories: adult, teen, and children. Online training includes videos, pictures, and games to make it a fun way to learn or refresh skills.
3. Jet Skis Banned in National Parks
Although the industry objects and feels singled out, jet skis and other similar personal watercraft have been banned in national parks and recreation areas. The safety issue here is for the environment, and to better protect the visiting public, park resources and wildlife. Environmental groups have long argued that the noise and emissions of jet skis are harmful to the land and water, and are especially disturbing to wildlife. Additionally, they are seen as a distraction to the serene experience most people anticipate when visiting a park or recreational area. While personal watercraft are prohibited, some parks allow other types of boats to use their waterways. The U.S. Department of the Interior is responsible for the management and conservation of these federal lands and natural resources.