Safe Boating Expo

Ronnie's Awesome List presents a guest article from U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 12. It was brought to us by flotilla staff officer Maria Goodavage, author of Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca, Soldier Dogs and The Dog Lover's Companion to California. Join her at the Safe Boating Expo on Saturday May 16 at the U.S. Coast Guard Station Golden Gate from10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (It should come as no surprise that she arranged for a couple of friendly Coast Guard dogs to be there and demo what they do!)

One of the perks of living in the Bay Area is that we’re surrounded by beautiful bodies of water. Between the Pacific, the Bay, the Delta, and all the rivers, it can seem like there’s water just about everywhere. (The non-drinkable kind at least.) 

Chances are pretty good that your children will be exposed to water in an up close and personal way, whether in a boat or on the shore. Letting them enjoy the wonders of life near the water while keeping them safe isn’t too hard. And thanks to a free family event being held at U.S. Coast Guard Station Golden Gate from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday May 16, the opportunity to learn about water safety has never been more fun and hands-on. 

There’s something for everyone at the Safe Boating Expo, and there’s even plenty of parking! At the Safe Boating Expo, you and your children can:

• Get a free life jacket (while supplies last). Life jackets are provided by the California Division of Boating and Waterways, as part of the worldwide “Ready, Set, Wear It” campaign encouraging life jacket wearing. Dog life jacket info and demos available, and will be modeled by Sierra, the happy black Lab who lives at Station Golden Gate!

• Witness a thrilling helicopter rescue demo by USCG Air Station San Francisco (as long as the helicopter isn’t called to a rescue/operation).

• Watch friendly Coast Guard bomb dogs at work. Feco and Evy, friendly explosives-sniffing dogs from Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST), will give riveting demos of how they detect explosives.

• Take a free boating seminar. Two info-packed seminars will be given inside Station Golden Gate: 11 a.m. Boating Safety. 12:30 p.m. Marine Engines. (These are geared toward adults.)

• Get a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour of Coast Guard boats and inside the Coast Guard station – places most people never get to visit!

• Bring your boat for a courtesy vessel safety check. The most cautious boaters can sometimes experience unexpected problems on the water. The U.S. Coast Guard recommends that all recreational boaters, including personal watercraft and paddle sport users, take advantage of the free Vessel Safety Check (VSC) program every year. Coast Guard Auxiliarist vessel examiners will be available to do VSCs on trailered boats near the public boat ramp. There’s never a penalty if your boat doesn’t pass – just suggestions on how to pass next time.

• Become a safe and environmentally friendly boater. Coast Guard Auxiliarists can help you learn about the latest in safe-boating rules, regs, and best practices. Plus learn how to keep the marine environment clean and avoid big fines. They’ll be giving out free clean-boater kits, safe-boating literature, paddlecraft ID stickers, stickers and fun activity books for children, and much more!

• Meet the heroes – Coasties and other local, life-saving first responder units will be on hand throughout the day to talk about what they do.

This event is a partnership of the Coast Guard active duty unit at Station Golden Gate and Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 12, with support from Flotilla 14, to kick off National Safe Boating Week, May 16-22.

More info: