Coast Guard volunteers offer help to ensure boaters stay safe
Dave DeGerome just bought a Baja speedboat last week. At 20 feet long and a top speed of 64 mph, it has the power and agility he wants for a summer of cruising the rivers with his adult children skiing in tow.
Sunday – with the help of volunteers from the Coast Guard — he learned he still had a couple of boxes to check off before he gets the boat out on the water: Cover the battery and mount the fire extinguishers.
DeGerome, 58, of Hampton looks for this kind of advice every year to catch any safety tips that escaped him, he said. He was one of about a dozen boaters docked Sunday at the Fox Chapel Yacht Club to invite the Coast Guard on board for a voluntary look to start National Safe Boating Week.
“I love to keep my boats pristine and in good condition,” DeGerome said. “This keeps me on my toes.”
Coast Guard volunteers are offering their help all over the region, with upcoming inspections Downtown and on the North Shore next month, and at Washington's Landing in July, said Dan Beahm, a volunteer based out of the guard station in Sewickley. They're purely voluntary, designed to help boaters learn safety regulations and get them a sticker to show authorities that everything is in order.
Vessel examiners like him guide boat owners through a checklist to ensure lights and horns are working, flares, flags and life jackets are accessible, and the boat license numbers are accurately displayed. The most common problems include lights malfunctioning after a winter dock and life jackets still wrapped in plastic containers, said Coast Guard Auxiliary Division VII Vice Cmdr. Norman C. Arbes. A boat displaying an incorrect registration number can get a hefty fine or even seized if authorities spot it on the water, said Ralph “RR” Unglo, an auxiliary member who conducted Sunday's inspections with Beahm.
“Little things like that that people don't think of, it can be a big mess,” said Unglo, 36, a fitness and self-defense instructor from Fox Chapel. “The main goal is keeping everyone safe.”
Karin Legato invited Coast Guard examiners on board for the first time when she saw Unglo and Beahm, 42, of Penn Hills passing through, she said. To get her boat Carina in line, she had to climb on the roof of the double-decker to change the white light at the top, breaking two nails in the process, which she joked about with Unglo.
“All boaters should take a safety course and get their boat inspected,” said Legato, a Downtown resident who declined to give her age. “That would keep the rivers safe for everyone. There's a lot of novice people out there.”
Timothy Puko is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7991 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Wheel separation incidents can prove deadly; NTSB doesn’t track them
- New Pittsburgh police chief gets familiar with surroundings on first day
- Unprepared law firms vulnerable to hackers
- Kent State provocation with ‘blood’ sweatshirt denied
- Pennsylvania death row inmate asks federal judge for stay of execution
- Hill District woman killed in crash on Birmingham Bridge
- Man shot outside his home in Penn Hills
- Newsmaker: Amanda Hartle
- Newsmaker: Natasha Garrett
- Latest flu vaccines offer protection from 4 influenza strains instead of traditional 3
- Pittsburgh may hold key to future of tech