be safe be seen coast guard campaign

We are reposting a press release from the US Coast Guard. We do so hoping you will take the time to consider how important spreading these very simple messages is. 

Taking a paddle craft on San Francisco Bay can be one of the most incredible experiences you can have. With that said this is no bike ride so the requirements to do so safely take some extra knowledge. The following Coast Guard program is trying to boil it down to the key points and make it easy for everyone to enjoy the bay safe. Here is the press release. 

The Coast Guard launched a safety campaign Monday aimed at preventing kayak and stand-up paddleboard accidents in Northern California.

The Be Safe. Be Seen. campaign encourages all paddlers, from one-time renters to long-time enthusiasts, to invest in proper lifesaving equipment, be aware of the dangers of winds and tides and understand navigation rules before going out on the water this summer.

"The popularity of paddle sports is exploding, so it's important to know that it's not as simple as it looks," said Paul Newman, the recreational boating safety specialist for the Coast Guard 11th District. "Winds can pick up unexpectedly and tides can change drastically during the day. Safety on the water begins by preparing before you even leave the dock."

be safe be seen coast guard campaign

During the campaign, Coast Guard members are scheduled to engage with paddling groups, retailers and rental facilities to distribute safety information and waterproof "If Found" stickers for owners to label their boards or kayaks. If a paddle craft is found, the sticker provides contact information so rescuers can determine if there is an actual emergency, or if the craft is simply adrift. If it's just adrift the owner can get their craft back."

The campaign will also incorporate the Coast Guard's annual Water Safety Fair being held at Coast Guard Station Golden Gate in Sausalito, May 19. The event, where the public can meet local Coast Guard members and safety experts, will kick off National Safe Boating Week, which spans May 19-25.

Be Safe. Be Seen. also addresses the complexity of California ports and reminds paddlers to remain aware that hundreds of vessels transit state waterways every day. Since many cities lack designated paddling areas, paddlers must share open waterways with larger vessels.

Through the campaign, the Coast Guard is asking experienced members of the paddling community to promote community safety by sharing their knowledge of the sport.

"Experienced paddlers can save lives by being the Coast Guard's eyes and ears on the water," said Newman. "If you see a paddler doing something unsafe, encourage them to do the safe thing. By the time the Coast Guard is aware of a problem, it could be too late."

During the 2016 boating season, the Coast Guard reported nearly 300 deaths and injuries on kayaks, canoes and paddleboards across the country. Operator inexperience, winds, choppy water and improper lookout were found to be leading factors. For more information on paddling statistics, visit

Paddlers can stay safe on the water by adhering to these safety tips:

  • Remember the ABC's: Always wear a life jacket. Bring a marine VHF Radio. Check the weather (including tides and winds) before you get underway.
  • Use VHF channel 9 to hail other boaters and channel 16 to communicate distress to the Coast Guard.
  • Remember you are not alone on the water! Learn navigation rules and sound signals for safe interaction with other boaters.
  • Know your waterway. Shipping lanes, aids to navigation and channel markers can be found on nautical charts.
  • Let someone know when and where you plan to paddle and when you plan to return.
  • Paddle with a buddy when possible.
  • Keep an eye out for other paddlers. If you see a paddler doing something unsafe, encourage them to do the safe thing.
  • END Coast Guard Release

We have compiled some additional safety tips on our ocean water safety page

We have compiled some additional safety tips on our San Francisco Bay water safety page. . 




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