Folsom Lake Safety Day
Boating and Waterways participated in a Boating Safety Day at Folsom Lake on May 27, with California State Parks, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and the U.S. Power Squadrons. Interim Director Carl Moore brought his new used powerboat to the lake for a preparedness inspection, as part of the new Vessel Safety Check program, jointly sponsored by USPS and the Auxiliary.
“When my boat passed inspection, they gave me VSC Decal No. 11, for Coast Guard District 11,” said Carl, who is a Rear Admiral with the USCG Reserve. Walter Cronkite, a longtime boater was the proud recipient of VSC Decal No. 1, when the program was inaugurated at the national level.
Carl Moore's boat is awarded VSC Decal No. 11 by Don Smutz
Held on the final day of the North American Safe Boating Week, the event was designed to educate local boaters at the launch ramp and provide a media opportunity to promote safety as the boating season got underway on the Memorial Day weekend. A Coast Guard C-130 simulated an airdrop rescue, the Sacramento County Fire Protection District performed a rescue from their boat, State Parks Rangers set up a PWC course, DBW staffed an info booth and brought a mobile safety billboard. Both Placer and El Dorado counties’ marine enforcement units were on the water. Numerous water safety experts were on hand for media interviews.
At the booth, Boating and Waterways staff distributed literature, answered questions and administered a safety quiz to test boaters’ knowledge and register them to win a new Coast Guard-approved life jacket. A roaming DBW mobile billboard also cruised the launch area, bringing safety messages to the water’s edge. One side of the billboard proclaimed, “Avoid the crash course…take a safety course.”
This message encourages boaters to complete a safe boating course to prevent accidents. While the mobile billboard cruised the launch area, it also broadcast audio boating safety public service announcements.
A U.S. Coast Guard C-130 aircraft performed an airdrop rescue, flying over the lake and dropping a life raft to a simulated disabled boat. The C-130 made a couple of flyovers, identifying the “disabled” vessel among the many boats by its orange visual distress smoke signals to indicate a vessel in distress. The “drop” was made. As the parachute attached to the raft deployed, the raft inflated and glided to the surface of the water within several yards of the disabled boat – a perfect landing. The boat crew quickly retrieved the raft to complete the rescue.
The Auxiliary and the USPS were out in force performing Vessel Safety Checks and assisting in controlling water activity during the demonstrations. For the first time, the USCG Auxiliary and the US Power Squadrons have joined forces nationwide to conduct Vessel Safety Checks. Don Smutz, the National Branch Chief of Vessel Examinations for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, conducted the VSC in tandem with Norm Pennington, the U.S. Power Squadrons District 25 Commander. After thoroughly checking Moore’s vessel, Smutz and Pennington awarded Moore with VIP decal number 11 to coincide with USCG Auxiliary District 11, which Moore has jurisdiction over. Don Smutz also provided technical instruction to the USCG Auxiliary vessel examiners present on the details of a thorough and proper Vessel Safety Check.
Norm Pennington and Don Smutz give Carl Moore's boat a Vessel Safety Check.
The Sacramento County Fire Protection District demonstrated a victim pickup from their 17-foot inflatable Almar rescue boat. The rescue boat was dispatched to a victim in the water. The rescue team performed a brief first-aid check to determine the appropriate method to bring the victim aboard. Identified with a minor injury, the rescue boat proceeded with its maneuver to dip the side of their inflatable boat and essentially scoop up the victim, bringing him on board. Then the rescue team was able to conduct a detailed first aid examination of the victim.
The lucky name drawn for the free life jacket was Justin Finsley, a student at Folsom High School who is a candidate for the USCG Academy Introduction Mission (AIM). Held in New London, CT, the AIM candidates spend a week learning about the Coast Guard and its opportunities. Finsley will attend AIM in July and already has his sights set on attending the USCG Academy after high school.
The Folsom Lake State Parks Rangers set up and monitored a Personal Watercraft buoy course for operators to hone their operating skills in a controlled setting. Throughout the day, novice PWC riders noticeably improved their boat handling skills after several passes through the buoy course throughout the day.