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After being asked by a reader about the decal they read about in SOUTHWINDS last year, I went on the website of the main marine patrol in Florida, the Florida Wildlife and Conservation Commission ( After extensive searching, I found nothing on their website that even mentioned the inspection and decal, so I called the FWC and was told that FWC officers and local marine patrol officers should be able to inspect your boat and should have decals with them. I asked why there was nothing on the FWC website mentioning this, and the FWC officer replied that there was no interest in the inspection decals, so they didn’t put anything up on the site. I wondered if there was little interest, because most people are unaware of it, partially because the FWC isn’t promoting it. Maybe they don’t want people to know about it, although promoting boating inspections should be a good thing. In the long run, if everyone got their boat inspected and had a decal, that would be good for general boating safety, although the law says there is no expiration date on them, which can be a problem, as an inspection that’s old and/or if the boat has changed hands, it could mean the boat needs to have its safety equipment checked out. It would probably be a good idea to require that it is only good for a limited period of time, before another inspection is required with a new decal. You can read the law yourself by searching online for Florida “HB703 2016” (go to the last dated and most recent PDF of the bill text and go to 327.70 (2) (a)). BoatUS has created a two-page document specifying the details of the inspection and decal. It can be read and/or downloaded at The law has nothing to do with the right of the Coast Guard to stop and inspect a boat for safety equipment. They can stop a boat whenever they want for almost any reason they want.

smooth sailing. For more on Shake-A-Leg, go to To donate to the GoFundMe drive, go to www.gofund, or go to the GoFundMe .com site and search for “shake a leg.”

GoFundMe Campaign to Help Rebuild Shake-A-Leg Miami

BoatUS Offers Online Course in Using AIS

Shake-A-Leg Miami is a local non-profit organization that focuses on utilizing the marine environment to improve the health, education and independence of children and adults with physical, developmental and economic challenges in an inclusive setting. From hosting Paralympic sailors to exposing children with disabilities to the water for the very first time, Shake-A-Leg has created a unique environment where people of all abilities can come together and foster their love for the ocean. The South Florida community has largely benefitted from Shake-A-Leg’s outstanding summer and afterschool programs, as well as their year-round  community events. Due to the catastrophic impacts of Hurricane Irma, ShakeA-Leg’s ability to serve the community as it has for the past 25 years is in jeopardy. Weekend and afterschool programs, that were slated to begin this week, have now been cancelled indefinitely.  It is now up to all of us to return the generosity shown by this remarkable organization by ensuring that Shake-ALeg continues with their mission of “Launching Boats and Dreams.”  All donations will go a long way towards navigating  Shake-A-Leg out of rough waters and back to 28

December 2017


More Than 40 Million Kidde Fire Extinguishers Recalled More than 40 million Kidde fire extinguishers equipped with plastic handles, some on the market for more than 40 years, have been recalled. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), “The fire extinguishers can become clogged or require excessive force to discharge and can fail to activate during a fire emergency. In addition, the nozzle can detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard.” The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean water is urging recreational boat owners to check their boats for the recalled extinguishers and get a free metal-handled replacement by going to the CPSC at and search for “kidde.” The recall affects both plastic-handle and push-button Pindicator Kidde fire extinguishers, including 134, ABC- or BC-rated models manufactured between January 1, 1973, and August 15, 2017. The extinguishers are red, white or silver and were sold in the U.S. and Canada through a wide range of retailers from Montgomery Ward to Amazon. The CPSC recall website shows how to easily identify the affected extinguishers. Kidde may also be contacted toll-free at 855-271-0773 from 8:30am-5pm EST and 9am-3pm Saturday and Sunday. The company offers additional recall information online at by selecting “Product Safety Recall.”

Screen shot of AIS vessels on the website. Different colors represent different types of vessels— cargo, tanker, sailing, etc.

AIS, Automatic Identification System, is a system that tracks boats on a chart screen so that boaters can see each other as they approach each other. It is used by ships to help them be aware of other ships in their area—particularly important

Profile for SOUTHWINDS Magazine

Southwinds December 2017  

A free, printed sailing magazine reporting on sailing in the southeast U.S: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missi...

Southwinds December 2017  

A free, printed sailing magazine reporting on sailing in the southeast U.S: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missi...