shutterstock_168678578Spring and the 2014 recreational boating season is just around the corner. With that in mind the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary would like to offer some special Valentine’s Day gift ideas for boaters to help them stay safe all year long, and will surely last longer than roses.

One of the best gift ideas for boaters is to sign them up for a safe boating course. Knowledge is power, and it has been statistically shown that boaters who have taken a boating course are far less likely to be involved in a boating accident or fatality.

Course topics include basic boat handling, required and recommended safety equipment, navigational rules and dealing with boating emergencies. To learn more, call 1-877-875-6296, or visit the U.S. Coast Guard AUX Boating Safety Class page.

You can also schedule a free vessel safety check (VSC) with your local Coast Guard Auxiliary unit. A trained and qualified auxiliary member of the Coast Guard will conduct a safety check on your vessel to ensure compliance with federal, state and local safety requirements before getting underway. For more information or to schedule a VSC, click here, and select “I WANT A VSC.”

Ten other great gift ideas to help keep boaters safe include:

  • Sleek, light-weight, and comfortable inflatable life jackets
  • A carbon monoxide detector
  • Emergency signaling kits — flares, signal mirror, whistle, etc.
  • Kill switch leash — kills the engine if the boater falls overboard
  • Up-to-date navigational charts and/or a handheld GPS unit
  • Navigation tools and calculators
  • Hand-held VHF marine radio with extra batteries
  • Personal emergency position indicating radio beacons(PEPIRBs)
  • Tool kit and spare parts for boats
  • Personal protective Equipment (PPE), such as a First Aid kit, sun screen, sunglasses, food and water.

The price range for these items runs from under $10, up to several hundred dollars, but giving the gift of safety to a friend or loved one is priceless. These are recommended gift ideas that will save lives and reduce accidents on America’s waterways.

Source:; February 2, 2008.