USCG Auxiliary calls for New Year’s safety resolutions

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is asking boaters to make a pair of New Year's resolutions that may help reduce boating fatalities, the organization said in a release Monday.

"The first of these is simple and is the most important thing you can do on a boat that may save lives," said Dean Payne, commander of Flotilla 37, which serves the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The first resolution asks boaters to promise “never to get underway before everyone onboard has on a properly fastened lifejacket."

Statistics prove that those on a boat are eight times more likely to live and be rescued if they fall overboard and have on a lifejacket compared to those that are not wearing a personal flotation device, the USCG said.

The second resolution is a pledge to get a free courtesy vessel examination in 2005.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary does free vessel examinations to insure boats are in compliance with all federal and state regulations.

"This could save you money as some insurance companies will give you a discount on your insurance if your boat has passed a vessel safety check," Payne said. "It could also save you time in finding out what is required for equipment on your boat and the embarrassment of being stopped without having the proper equipment onboard."

More information about vessel safety checks can be found at or by contacting one's local Flotilla, which can be found by either visiting the USCG Auxiliary at or by contacting the nearest Coast Guard unit.

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