ON THE WATERFRONT: Remember life jackets, radio for fun, safe boating

MONDAY IS MEMORIAL Day, a federal holiday that was originally known as Decoration Day and originated in the years following the Civil War that honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades.

Unofficially, Memorial Day weekend marks the traditional start of the recreational boating season and with the increased number of boaters on the water there will be mishaps, close calls and even a few emergencies that will require help from first responders.

The Coast Guard is quick to remind all boaters that the best way to stay safe on the water is to have your vessel inspected and properly equipped, and for the operator to stay alert and conscious of their surroundings including other boaters. It is also very risky business to operate a boat under the influence of alcohol.

According to the Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety, alcohol is the primary contributing factor in boating fatalities. And of course all occupants of a boat should wear their life jackets at all times.

All boaters are well advised to follow these important safety tips:

• Wear a life jacket.

• Carry a VHF-FM marine radio.

• Don’t drink alcohol and operate a boat.

• Make sure the boat is in good repair.

• Check all safety gear and ensure that everybody is trained in its use.

• Make sure the boat drain plug is securely in place.

• Don’t overload your boat.

• Keep a sharp lookout and monitor the weather and sea conditions.

In Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca observe vessel traffic zones and stay clear of large commercial ships, tugs and barges.

The next couple of weeks the Port Angeles waterfront will be awash in activity. Next Sunday the Port Angeles Yacht Club will be holding their 12th annual marine swap meet at their parking lot behind Castaways, 1213 Marine Drive. I understand vendor space is still available for $10.

To reserve a space call 360-457-4132 or email [email protected]

The following week Saturday June 9 and Sunday June 10 will usher in the inaugural Maritime Festival which will surely become an annual event. It will highlight the city’s rich maritime history and her promising future.

Saturday at City Pier the tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain will be open for tours. Additionally there are tickets available to purchase for cruises on these vessels.

The Coast Guard will also have a 64-foot boat at city pier available for tours.

At the Boat Haven Marina the tug Comanche will be open for tours. This 143-foot vessel was launched in 1944 as a U.S. Navy tug with the mission of pulling damaged warships out of the line of fire. For her endeavors she received a Battle Star in Okinawa during World War II.

Armstrong Marine is sponsoring a Kraken slide at City Pier on Saturday and there also will be face painting and Port Angeles Rocks will be hiding painted rocks.

Arrow Launch, Puget Sound Pilots, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will each have a boat open for tours.

And of course there will be food vendors galore to satisfy anyone’s sweet or savory desire.

On Sunday, there will be a tour of the Commander Building at Platypus Marine, Westport Shipyards will have their bays open with information tables set up and there will be bus tours of the Port of Port Angeles’ Log Yard and terminals.

Also this week

Monday Tesoro Petroleum bunkered Atlantic Queen, a 600 foot petroleum products tanker flagged in Hong Kong.

Thursday Tesoro provided bunkers to Ocean Grand, a 560 foot cargo ship that is flagged in the United States.

Friday, Tesoro refueled Oak Harbour, a 573 -oot cargo ship that is flagged in Hong Kong.

_________

David G. Sellars is a Port Angeles resident and former Navy boatswain’s mate who enjoys boats and strolling the area’s waterfronts and boat yards.

Items and questions involving boating, marina and industrial activities and the North Olympic Peninsula waterfronts are always welcome. News announcements about boating groups, including yacht clubs and squadrons, are welcome as well.

Email [email protected] or call him at 360-808-3202.

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