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Nautical gifts with safety in mind

The Coast Guard Auxiliary has ideas this holiday season for gifts that will not only be appreciated, but may help save a life, according to a recent press release.

First on the volunteer organization’s list is buying and registering a 406 MHz EPIRB, because after Feb, 1, 2009, beacons that transmit 121.5 or 243 MHz will no longer be recognized by search-and-rescue satellites, according to the release. Not only is it a valuable piece of equipment on a vessel, but the gift giver can help family and friends make the switch to 406.

“A properly registered EPIRB takes the search out of search-and-rescue,” says Sandy Needle, Coast Guard Search and Rescue controller, in the report.

Second on the list is a properly fitting life jacket. The Coast Guard stresses the importance of a life jacket cannot be underestimated, and the range of variety and style available guarantees shoppers that they can find the right gear for any boater, regardless of their vessel.

Other gift suggestions include nautical charts, submersible, hand-held VHF radio, dry/wet suit, compass, neoprene gloves, compass, life raft, first-aid kit, and a signaling kit complete with flares, mirror, whistle, lights and an air horn.

For those with tight budgets, there are some gifts that cost nothing but time, such as scheduling a free vessel safety check with the local Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadron. Another idea is to sign up family and friends for a boating safety course, which includes topics such as basic boating knowledge, laws, navigational rules and problem solving.

Information can be found at

— Elizabeth Ellis