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A huge benefit of island living here in southern Southeast Alaska is the boating.
Local waters offer world-class opportunities for recreational watercraft ranging from Feathercraft kayaks to Hewescraft sportfishers to Mochi Craft yachts and just about everything in between.
Locals have been getting their boats ready for the 2019 season. Local marine mechanics are busy. We’re seeing trailered boats on the roadways, and boat ramps at Mountain Point, Bar Harbor and Knudson Cove getting busier.
All of the preparatory activity speaks to the number of recreational boaters in this island community, many of whom are seasoned mariners with great experience.
And every year, people new to boating launch fresh into the maritime life here. Exciting times!
As the boating season gets underway, we’d like to encourage old salts and greenhorns alike to ensure their vessels are seaworthy and carry the required safety equipment — and know how to use it.
Any waterway can be wonderful one moment and deadly the next. Ketchikan-area water is no exception, and has its own circumstances that boaters should be aware of. Recreational mariners are smart to gain understanding of local waters and build their nautical skills.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary can assist. The Ketchikan group, for example, offers safe boating courses, in addition to courtesy dockside exams for recreational boats. The exams take about 15 minutes and can help boaters be confident that their vessel has the proper safety equipment on board.
And the Coast Guard — in recognition of National Safe Boating Week that began Saturday and continues through Friday — reminds us of some tried-and-true practices that can help keep the boat operator and their onboard family and friends safe on water.
These tips include filing a float plan, checking weather in advance, wearing lifejackets, having multiple forms of communication (such as VHF-FM radio, personal locator beacon and extra batteries) available, dressing for the water temperature and, not least, boating sober.
We wish every local recreational and commercial boater a thoroughly enjoyable season on the water in 2019. Please make it back to shore safe and sound, so you can do it all again next year.