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Safe Boating Week includes tours of Coast Guard motor lifeboat at Tarpons Springs Sponge Docks

Boaters negotiate the crowded waters near Belleair Causeway. National Safe Boating Week begins today and ends Friday.

JIM DAMASKE | Times (2003)

Boaters negotiate the crowded waters near Belleair Causeway. National Safe Boating Week begins today and ends Friday.

When it comes to boating safety, it doesn't get much safer than the Coast Guard's 47-foot motor lifeboat.

The $771,000, heavy-weather vessel, one of two stationed at the Sand Key Coast Guard Station, can withstand 30-foot waves. It can be used for rescues, training and law enforcement.

Today it will be used for fun and education.

Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the vessel as part of the Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-9's Safe Boating Kickoff from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks.

"The kids love it," said Carl Cole, chairman of the annual event for the 11-9 auxiliary. "We had hundreds out there last year."

On Friday, Clearwater Fire & Rescue's Marine Unit, the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies kicked off National Safe Boating Week with a media briefing.

The theme for this year's Safe Boating Week is "Wear It!" Officials recommend that boaters wear life jackets at all times while on the water. For more information, visit www.wearit florida.com.

At the Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-9's kickoff event today in Tarpon Springs, visitors will be able to hear calls on a Coast Guard radio, and there will be special activities for children.

But the focus will be on public awareness of safe boating.

"And we want to show the public the Coast Guard is here and provides service to them," Cole said.

Additional Safe Boating Week events organized by the auxiliary include vessel examinations and educational information at several locations:

Today, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Kenyon Power Boats, 36851 U.S. 19, Palm Harbor.

Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.: West Marine on U.S. 19 in Tarpon Springs.

May 23, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Anclote State Park, Anclote Road, Tarpon Springs.

Safe Boating Week includes tours of Coast Guard motor lifeboat at Tarpons Springs Sponge Docks 05/15/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 15, 2009 9:03pm]
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