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Emergency Boating Information

A boating emergency can happen anytime, anywhere — and does not only refer to a problem with your vessel, but also to any dangerous situation involving one of your passengers. It is key to remain aware of your situation and assess your risk before leaving shore and during your trip:

  • Monitor the weather before and during your outing.

  • Know the water temperature — this can help you determine how long you or your passengers can safely remain in the water while waiting for help or swimming to shore.

  • File a float plan with a friend, relative and/or the U.S. Coast Guard.

It is also important NOT to signal for help if you do not need it. The U.S. Coast Guard will only come out to your aid if someone’s life is in danger. You should only send out a Mayday call if there is risk of imminent peril, such as if your boat is sinking or has caught fire, in which case, remember:

  • Always use your VHF radio to broadcast a Mayday — the U.S. Coast Guard monitors VHF frequencies (typically Channel 16) and can identify your position from the radio signal.

  • Anyone within range that has their VHF radio turned on should be able to hear your Mayday call and may come to your aid if they are in the vicinity.

  • You must be able to provide your position (either GPS coordinates or positional landmarks), name of your vessel, and the type of emergency you are experiencing.

If your boat is still operable during an emergency, be sure to monitor the engine’s condition via the helm station gauges, while noting any irregularities in its performance. If your boat becomes inoperable at any point, be sure to follow your emergency response plan.

Remember, following safe boating practices is only one part of staying safe out on the water. You must also be prepared to respond to any emergency that might occur on your outings. Knowing what to do before and during your trip to help prevent an emergency, as well as being equipped to handle a situation should one occur, is key to making sure your vessel and everyone on board returns to shore safely after every trip.

Before You Go Out


Local Municipal Boat Ramps

Long Beach Island

Barnegat Light: 
10th Street on the bay.

Harvey Cedars: 
West 75th Street at Kinsey Cove. 

Surf City: 
Division Street on the bay. 

Ship Bottom: 
10-12th Street on the bay at Ship Bottom's Waterfront Park. 


Beach Haven: 
9th Street on the bay at the Taylor Ave 


Barnegat Municipal Ramp: 
Bay Shore Ave.

Stafford Municipal Ramp:
End of Cedar Run Dock Road in Manahawkin

Parkertown Ramp:
End of Dock Street in Parkertown

Great Bay Blvd:
600 Great Bay Blvd in Tuckerton.



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