Arts Center to host “Peanuts” Thanksgiving Party

The Maria V. Howard Arts Center will host, “It’s a Thanksgiving Party, Charlie Brown!” on Saturday, November 23rd, from 10 a.m. to 12 Noon, in recognition of its current “Peanuts… Naturally” exhibition.

The event will feature tours of the “Peanuts… Naturally” exhibit, along with other Arts Center exhibits, hands-on activities, live Jazz music featured in “Peanuts” specials, and more.

“Peanuts… Naturally” is a national touring exhibit organized by the Charles M. Schulz Museum. The exhibit features more than 50 items from the Museum, including classic strips, Peanuts-inspired art and collectibles. Most of the pieces represent natural and environmental themes Schulz often incorporated into his famous strip throughout its 50-year run.

The exhibit also includes several “hands on” stations where visitors of all ages can learn more about biology, plants, astronomy, weather and the environment.

“Peanuts… Naturally” is on display at the Maria V. Howard Arts Center at The Imperial Centre, 270 Gay Street, Downtown Rocky Mount from now until January 5th. The exhibit is free to the public and open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Multiple Recycling Services Available at Golden East Mall, November 9th

This Saturday, Keep America Beautiful and City of Rocky Mount will host their annual America Recycles Day event at Golden East Crossing Mall’s parking lot near JCPenney from 10am to 1pm.

America Recycles Day provides anyone a free opportunity to dispose of household waste safely and responsibly. Attendees can have up to four paper bags full of paper shredded in order to rid themselves of confidential documents and papers.

Staff and volunteers on hand will also accept old electronics for recycling, as well as gently used clothing for redistribution to those in needs.

Public safety authorities will also be on hand to conduct a free “medicine drop” of unwanted and unused prescription drugs, to ensure safe and appropriate disposal.

Golden East Crossing Mall is located on Benvenue Road and is adjacent to North Wesleyan Boulevard and Jeffreys Road.


Nash CC Foundation hosts Annual Golf Tournament

(NEWS RELEASE) The 24th Annual Nash Community College Foundation Student Scholarship Golf Classic was held at Benvenue Country Club in Rocky Mount on October 17, 2013 with 132 golfers participating.

Members of the golf committee coordinating the event were 2013 Committee Chair, Lank Dunton, Vice President, Southern Bank & Trust Company; Jeffrey Batts, Attorney, Batts, Batts & Bell; Cam Blalock, Sr. Vice President Corporate Services, Nash Health Care Systems; Bill Carver, President, Nash Community College; David Combs, Broker/Owner, Century 21/The Combs Company; Pat Daniels, Executive Director, Nash Community College Foundation; Phil Dixon, Director of Sales and Training, Construction Imaging by Viewpoint; Annette Dishner, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Nash Community College; Trent Mohrbutter, Vice President for Instruction and Chief Academic Officer, Nash Community College; Scott Rogers, Assistant Emergency Services Director, Nash County; Joe Saputo, President, Carolina Eagle Budweiser, Inc. and Morris Wilder, CPA, Business Consultant.

This year’s grand tournament sponsors were Autumn Care of Nash, Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant, Oakley-Collier Architects, P.A., MBM, Sandy Cross Consultant Service, Inc., Wells Fargo, McLane and North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. Golf carts were sponsored by Franklin Street Partners and Nash Health Care Systems. 2013 Hospitality/Event Contributors were Benvenue Country Club, Canteen Vending Services, Carolina Eagle Budweiser, Inc., Davenport Autopark, Speight’s Trophy Shop and SunDrop Bottling Company of Rocky Mount.

Nash Community College Foundation 2013 Golf Tournament Champions, UR.stocks.R.up, comprised of (from left): Gray Daughtridge, Phil Dixon, Jamin Dixon and Wes Ballance.

The first place team in the championship flight was UR.stocks.R.up with a total net score of 49. The team was comprised of Gray Daughtridge, Phil Dixon, Jamin Dixon and Wes Ballance. Second place was captured by the Teeny Weeny Cleaning Service team with a net score of 50 . Team members included Graham Campbell, Al Godwin, Johnny Poland and Bob Norman.

First place in the First Division (first flight) was Wells Fargo team with a net score of 54. Team members included Grant Everette, Bryan Williams, Tem Myers and Frank Harrison. Second place went to the Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant team with a net score of 54. Team players included Ed Willburn, Monte Tippette, Elliot Canupp and Charles Harris.

First place in the Second Division (second flight) was the City of Rocky Mount team sponsored by Texican Natural Gas with a net score of 58. Team was comprised of Rusty Owens, Aubrey Hilliard, Ricky Proctor and Rich Worsinger. Runners-up in this division were the Oakley-Collier Architects team with a net score of 59 with team players Matt Oakley, Franki Joyner, Tim Oakley and David Griffin.

Closest-to-the-hole contest winners were: Kevin O’Conner on hole 2, representing the MBM Corporation team, Phillip Manning on hole 9 representing the Danco Builders team, Tim Sasser on hole 13 representing Team Harris and Linda Amerson on hole 17 representing the President’s Team. The men’s longest drive winner was Terry Coppedge of Nash Health Care Team and the women’s longest drive winner was Rhonda Williams from the North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives team. Kenney Baker with the Sandy Cross Consultants Team won the Acer Tablet raffle.

Rocky Mount Rabies Vaccination Clinic on October 26th

(NEWS RELEASE) The City of Rocky Mount will host a Rabies Vaccination Clinic on Saturday, October 26, 2013 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Rocky Mount Animal Shelter. The shelter is located at 1101 North Church Street. The clinic, administered by Hicks Animal Clinic, is held often in order to provide safety for animals, and ultimately humans, from exposure to the disease.

The Rabies Vaccination Clinic is for cats and dogs only, four months and older. Pets must be on leashes or in carriers, and the cost is just $5 per pet, cash only. Animal adoptions are also available.

For more information on the Rabies Vaccination Clinic, visit, or call 972-1390.

NC’s Washington Delegation Splits on Syria

Prominent members of North Carolina’s Congressional Delegation are expressing opposing views on President Obama’s intention to use military force as a response to the recent deployment of chemical weapons in Syria.

Republican Senator Richard Burr, who also drew criticism from conservatives for opposing efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act, expressed support for military action in a statement issued August 28th.

Senator Richard Burr

Civilized people should be outraged by the deaths of thousands of Syrian civilians and the many more who have been maimed in this horrible civil war. The Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against civilians is morally repugnant and violates long held standards of conduct.  Short of putting troops on the ground, it is time for the United States and our NATO allies to take necessary, punitive military action against the Syrian regime and send a clear signal to its leadership, and others in the region who may be contemplating using weapons of this nature, that there are consequences for these actions.

Last Tuesday, Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (2nd District) came out in opposition to the use of US military force.

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-2nd District)

For more than two years we have witnessed the inner turmoil taking place in Syria and the horrendous atrocities executed by the Assad regime. Recently, reports have come out showing that chemical weapons have been used in cowardly attacks that have shocked the world in their brutality. These constitute a threat to our allies in Israel and Jordan and therefore warrant additional debate and preparedness.

But as President Obama and his administration begin to beat the drums of war in an area of the world which has witnessed significant bloodshed and turmoil for decades, we must take caution and ask serious questions regarding our interests and the price to be paid with intervention. We have learned so much from our history of involvement in this part of the world and the fog of war which clouds our judgment between friend and foe, perceived goals and collateral damage.

At this time, I see nothing but hardship, danger, and unprovoked sacrifice on the shoulders of our military, our troops, and their families. For these and many other reasons which have been echoed by my constituents, I cannot support military action against Syria at this time. Our focus must be on rebuilding our economy here at home after struggling for nearly five years under the President Obama’s economy.  Unless further evidence shows a clear threat to our national interests and a clearly defined vision of victory, this will remain my position moving forward.

First District Congressman, Walter Jones, also opposes action in Syria.

Congressman Water Jones (R-1st District)

I will vote against  any  proposal to authorize U.S. military intervention in Syria,” said Congressman Jones.  “The reality of America’s dismal fiscal situation is that any money spent to bomb Syria will be borrowed from overseas or will be taken from the Defense Department’s already-shrinking budget – resulting in even fewer resources for Eastern North Carolina military installations.  Neither of these options is acceptable.”

Furthermore, there are serious questions about the credibility of the Obama administration’s claims regarding the use of sarin gas in Syria.  The president has failed to explain how our national security depends on engaging in yet another Middle Eastern civil war on the side of radical Islamist rebels who have been documented as possessing sarin gas and beheading Christians, among other atrocities.

President Obama has requested Congressional authorization for the use of force in Syria. The President provided a summary of his justification for the request in his September 7th weekly radio address:

President Barack Obama

Almost three weeks ago in Syria, more than 1,000 innocent people – including hundreds of children – were murdered in the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century.  And the United States has presented a powerful case to the world that the Syrian government was responsible for this horrific attack on its own people.

This was not only a direct attack on human dignity; it is a serious threat to our national security.  There’s a reason governments representing 98 percent of the world’s people have agreed to ban the use of chemical weapons.  Not only because they cause death and destruction in the most indiscriminate and inhumane way possible – but because they can also fall into the hands of terrorist groups who wish to do us harm.

That’s why, last weekend, I announced that, as Commander in Chief, I decided that the United States should take military action against the Syrian regime.  This is not a decision I made lightly.  Deciding to use military force is the most solemn decision we can make as a nation.

As the leader of the world’s oldest Constitutional democracy, I also know that our country will be stronger if we act together, and our actions will be more effective.  That’s why I asked Members of Congress to debate this issue and vote on authorizing the use of force.

What we’re talking about is not an open-ended intervention.  This would not be another Iraq or Afghanistan.  There would be no American boots on the ground.  Any action we take would be limited, both in time and scope – designed to deter the Syrian government from gassing its own people again and degrade its ability to do so.

I know that the American people are weary after a decade of war, even as the war in Iraq has ended, and the war in Afghanistan is winding down.  That’s why we’re not putting our troops in the middle of somebody else’s war.

But we are the United States of America.  We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we’ve seen out of Syria.  Failing to respond to this outrageous attack would increase the risk that chemical weapons could be used again; that they would fall into the hands of terrorists who might use them against us, and it would send a horrible signal to other nations that there would be no consequences for their use of these weapons.  All of which would pose a serious threat to our national security.

That’s why we can’t ignore chemical weapons attacks like this one – even if they happen halfway around the world.  And that’s why I call on Members of Congress, from both parties, to come together and stand up for the kind of world we want to live in; the kind of world we want to leave our children and future generations.

One of the President’s strongest supporters in North Carolina, Democrat Congressman G.K. Butterfield (1st District), expressed an open mind on the issue:

Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-1st District)

I’m deeply troubled by the Assad Regime’s use of chemical weapons on innocent civilians in Syria.  As a Member of Congress, authorizing the use of military force is one of our most important responsibilities and it should not be taken lightly.  This situation deserves careful consideration and I look forward to a thorough debate in the Congress

For Republican Congressman George Holding (13th District), further information from the White House on the situation in Syria provides more reason to oppose military action:

Congressman George Holding (13th District)

After classified briefings and hearing directly from Secretaries Kerry and Hagel yesterday in the Foreign Affairs Committee, I am more skeptical than ever about President Obama’s plan to bomb Syria. For Secretary Kerry to say an attack on Syria – which when you get right down to it amounts to an act of war – is a limited strike, and then add we ‘are not fighting to win,’ doesn’t make a bit of sense.

What we heard today from the administration was purely and simply an exercise in minimizing and understating risks – and nothing I heard convinced me it is necessary to send one American soldier into battle.

The President will speak on the situation and his justifications for use of US force in Syria during a televised address on Tuesday evening, September 10th.

SpringboardNC hosting Entrepreneur Mixer August 8th


SpringBoardNC will host its next entrepreneurial mixer, “Biz & Brews,” next Thursday, August 8th, at The Prime Smokehouse, 207 East Thomas Street in Downtown Rocky Mount, from 5:30 to 7pm

Registration for this event is free and can be completed online by clicking here. Light refreshments will be available, along with beverage specials.

This upcoming event will provide business owners and potential entrepreneurs a chance to meet and network with representatives from local banks.

To learn more about SpringBoardNC, visit

What are the risks of “Common Core”

(The following commentary was originally posted by Civitas Institute)

By Bob Luebke

Last fall public schools in North Carolina along with 44 other states began implementing Common Core Standards. The standards — developed by academic experts and private trade associations with the financial backing of several large foundations — have unleashed a brushfire of criticism, fueled in part by the controversial ideas behind Common Core, parental anger over the lack of input and dissatisfaction over how the standards are implemented in our schools.

To help our readers learn more about Common Core, we’ve asked Jane Robbins, a Senior Fellow with the American Principles Project and someone actively involved in the national fight to stop Common Core, to share with us her thoughts about Common Core Standards and what these changes mean for students and parents in North Carolina. What follows is a transcript of Jane’s responses to our questions.

Tell me why North Carolina parents should be concerned about Common Core.

Common Core is an attempt by private interests in Washington, DC, aided by the federal government, to standardize English language arts (ELA) and math education (and ultimately, education in other subjects as well) throughout the nation. By adopting Common Core, North Carolina has agreed to cede control over its ELA and math standards to entities outside the state. Not only does this scheme obliterate parental control over the education of their children, but it imposes mediocre standards based on questionable philosophies, constitutes a huge unfunded mandate on the state and on local districts, and requires sharing students’ personal data with the federal government.

Specifically, how will Common Core impact a child’s education?

In ELA, the child will be exposed to significantly less classic literature – the books and stories that instill a love of reading – and significantly more nonfiction “informational texts.” The idea is not to educate him as a full citizen, but to train him for a future static job. In math, the child won’t learn the standard algorithm (the normal computational model) for addition and subtraction until grade 4, for multiplication until grade 5, and for division until grade 6. Until then, the child will be taught what we used to call “fuzzy math” – alternative offbeat ways to solve math problems. He probably won’t take algebra I until grade 9 (meaning he’s unlikely to reach calculus in high school, as expected by selective universities), and will be “taught” geometry according to an experimental method never used successfully in K-12 anywhere in the world.

Aren’t Common Core standards supposed to be better than existing school standards?

That’s the claim, but it simply isn’t true. Even the Fordham Institute, which has been paid a lot of money by Common Core-financier the Gates Foundation to promote the standards, admitted that many states had better standards and others had standards at least as good. The Common Core website itself no longer claims that the standards are “internationally benchmarked,” and the Common Core Validation Committee was never given any information on international benchmarking. And one of the drafters of the math standards admitted in 2010 that when Common Core proponents talk about “college-readiness,” they’re aiming for a nonselective community college, not a four-year university.

How are teachers impacted under Common Core?

Seasoned teachers are likely to be unhappy with the educational “innovations” described above. And once the SMARTER Balanced national test is implemented in 2014-15, teachers will have to teach to this test because their performance evaluations will be tied to the test scores. The national test will be completely online, which means schools without sufficient technology will have to rotate their students through computer labs. (SMARTER Balanced suggests a 12-week testing window). This means students who are tested in the first week will have significantly less instruction under their belts than students who are tested later – but all teachers’ evaluations will be tied to the scores.

Is it true that local districts will be able to choose their own curriculum under Common Core? If all curricula will ultimately be tied to the standards, does that really matter?

The point of standards is to drive curricula. While local districts still have some choice over curricula, they are already seeing that their choices are narrowing, because all curricula must be aligned with Common Core. And the federal government is funding the two consortia that are developing the national tests and that have admitted they are creating curriculum models. Two former U.S. Department of Education officials concluded in a comprehensive report that, ultimately, the Common Core scheme will result in a national curriculum – in violation of three federal statutes.

Tell us more about the student database and what parents need to know.

Both the 2009 Stimulus bill and the Race to the Top program required states to build massive student databases. It is recommended that these databases ultimately track over 400 data points, including health-care history, disciplinary history, etc. Any of this data that will be given to the Smarter Balanced consortium as part of the national test will be sent to the U.S. Department of Education. USED can then share the data with literally any entity it wants to – public or private – because of regulations it has issued gutting federal student-privacy law.

North Carolinians should also be concerned about a new initiative called inBloom, which is a pilot program designed to standardize student data and make it available to commercial vendors creating education products. North Carolina is one of the nine states involved in the inBloom pilot.

How did all this happen?

Very stealthily. Private interests in Washington, funded largely by the Gates Foundation, decided in 2007 to try again (as progressive education reformers have in the past) to nationalize standards and curriculum. Thus began the development of Common Core. When the stimulus bill passed in 2009, the U.S. Department of Education used the money it was given to create the Race to the Top program. To be competitive for Race to the Top grants, a state had to agree to adopt Common Core and the aligned national tests. The commitments were due before the standards were released, and without the opportunity for involvement by state legislatures. So most states that adopted Common Core did so for a chance at federal money, and without legislators’ and citizens’ knowing anything about it.

In your view who’s behind the development of Common Core Standards and what are they trying to accomplish?

The standards were created primarily by a nonprofit called Achieve, Inc. in Washington, DC, and released under the auspices of two DC-based trade associations (the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, neither of which had a grant of legislative authority from their members to create national standards). Funding and support came from the Gates Foundation, as well as from other foundations including the Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy and Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education. The common denominator seems to be a belief that very smart elites in Washington are better able to direct our children’s education than we are. As for what they are trying to accomplish, two points: first, Bill Gates seems to favor a “Common Core operating system” that can be imposed on every school, everywhere, to increase efficiency: and second, the initiative seems directed at workforce development, not true education.

What have you learned from traveling around the country working with parents and groups who are fighting Common Core?

That Goliath should be very, very concerned about David! Parents and other concerned citizens have stood up to the lavishly funded special interests and have demanded a return of their constitutional right to control their children’s education. Common Core is not inevitable, and patriots can still prevail if they refuse to give in. I’ve also learned that the forces behind Common Core are wedded to certain buzzwords and talking points that have absolutely no evidence to support them – “rigorous,“ “college- and career-ready,” etc. – and that the promoters frequently resort to outright deception to get what they want. The ends justify the means, apparently.

How do you respond to concerns that withdrawal from Common Core will threaten Race to the Top funding or the No Child Left Behind waiver?

Regarding Race to the Top, several points: 1) nothing in the grant requires paying back the money if Common Core is discarded; 2) even if repayment were demanded, it should be only a fraction of the money actually paid out (since the commitments to Common Core and the SMARTER Balanced tests were only a fraction of the Race to the Top commitment); 3) even if full repayment were required, this would be much cheaper than continuing to implement the Common Core unfunded mandate; and 4) it is highly unlikely, from a political standpoint, that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan would require repayment, since he has claimed for two years that nothing about this program is a federal mandate – if he now imposes a huge penalty for North Carolina’s exercise of independence, he will be proving the point of the Common Core critics. Regarding the No Child Left Behind waiver, there is a way within the waiver application itself that allows a state to use standards other than Common Core. If North Carolina has its alternative standards certified by its major institutions of higher education, it can still qualify for the waiver (assuming it wishes to do so – the waiver simply exchanges one set of federal shackles for another).

Do you have any final advice on how parents can be actively involved in fighting Common Core Standards in North Carolina?

Yes. Educate yourselves and your friends by visiting and Talk to your local school officials and school board members. Call your state legislators, your state school board members, and your Governor, and demand that they take action to restore North Carolina control over North Carolina education.

(For North Carolina, also visit

Practice Safe Boating

This week (May 18th-24th) is National Safe Boating Week, a partnership between the National Weather Service and the National Safe Boating Council.

As summer approaches, we look forward to spending more time on our boat. It is important to remain mindful of practices to ensure you have a safe time enjoying our local waterways and avoiding potentially dangerous and fatal situations.

Here’s a list of reminders being featured during National Safe Boating Week:

Life Jackets

Before you and your family get out on the water this year, grab a life jacket and “Wear It!” Nearly 85 percent of those who drown while boating were not wearing a life jacket.

Wearing a life jacket is one of the most effective and simple life-saving strategies for safe recreational boating. Boaters are required to have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on board for every passenger on their vessel.

Today’s life jackets are available in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. They are comfortable, lightweight, and perfect for any boating activity.

The most important thing is this: remember to grab a life jacket and “Wear It!”

Vessel Safety Check

This boating season, make sure that you take advantage of the Vessel Safety Check (VSC), program – a free, no risk, service provided in your area by the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and the US Power Squadrons. A qualified vessel examiner will conduct an inspection of all the required safety equipment carried or installed on a vessel and certain aspects of the vessel’s overall condition. Even if you pay careful attention to safety, dangerous mechanical problems can crop up on the best-maintained boat. That’s why the U.S. Coast Guard recommends that all recreational boats (including personal watercraft) get a free VSC each year.

A VSC is your best way of learning about conditions that might put you in violation of state or federal laws or, worse, create an unsafe condition for you or your passengers on the water.

Be prepared for any emergency when you are afloat. Get a free vessel safety check to ensure that your vessel complies with both Federal and State requirements. If the vessel meets all requirements, the examiner will award a Vessel Safety Check decal. If your vessel fails to receive a VSC decal, no law enforcement action is taken and the examiner will provide a list of items for correction.

Marine Weather Forecasts

Understanding a marine forecast is critical to safe boating. Weather and wave conditions can change suddenly, catching boaters off guard and creating life threatening conditions.

Typical marine forecasts predict wind speed and direction, wave heights and periods, roughness of near shore waters, and significant weather. Marine forecasts cover large areas and the forecast elements are often given in ranges. The significant weather may not occur over the entire area or during the entire forecast period. The ranges represent average conditions over a period of time (usually 12 hours) and the actual conditions may be lower or higher than the forecast range. Boaters should plan for conditions above and below the predicted ranges.

Take particular note of any current advisories and warnings, including Small Craft Advisories, Gale or Storm Warnings which alert mariners to either high winds or waves occurring now or forecast to occur up to 24 hours from now. Special Marine Warnings are issued for sudden increase in winds to over 35 knots (40 mph), waterspouts (tornadoes over water), and hail of 3/4 inches or greater and indicate a more immediate threat. Marine weather statements bring attention to significant rapidly changing conditions on the water including increase in winds, non severe thunderstorms, development of dense fog and even snow squalls or strong and gusty rain showers.

You should have a marine VHF transceiver with built-in NOAA Weather Radio channels. If you venture beyond about a 25 nautical mile range from shore, you should consider buying a good quality HF single sideband transceiver and satellite phone.

Before setting out, obtain the latest marine forecast and warning information from or NOAA Weather Radio. Several days ahead of time you can begin listening for extended outlooks which give general information out to the next five days in both graphical and text format.


The Cospas-Sarsat system is an international satellite-based search and rescue system used to locate emergency radio beacons transmitting on a frequency of 406 MHz. Since 1982, the Cospas-Sarsat system has been instrumental in the rescue of over 30,000 individuals worldwide and more than 6,700 individuals in the United States. Within the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the lead representative to the Cospas-Sarsat organization.

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons or EPIRBs are a type of emergency radio beacon developed for use in marine environments. Other types of emergency radio beacons such as Personal Locator Beacons or PLBs are available for different applications; however their effectiveness can be compromised when used in the marine environment. 406 MHz EPIRBs are divided into two categories. Category I EPIRBs are activated automatically or may be activated manually. Category II EPIRBs can only be activated manually. Either of these two types of EPIRBs may be equipped with GPS which will help rescue forces locate you more quickly. As proven by experience, an EPIRB often serves as the last line of defense when disaster strikes. All types of EPIRBs are becoming increasingly affordable and all mariners should investigate procuring one, especially those operating in harsh environments or offshore areas.

Once your purchase is made, make certain that you register your EPIRB which is mandatory. The information you provide on your registration may help rescue forces find you faster in an emergency. This information also allows Rescue Coordination Center personnel to determine if a distress alert is real or false and prevent the needless dispatch of rescue forces to locate a false alert. You may register online at For any registration questions, please cal1 888-212-7283.

For more information on Cospas-Sarsat or EPIRBs visit:

Hypothermia Prevention & Treatment

After a long winter…thoughts naturally turn toward warm weather recreational activities. Unseasonably warm afternoons of the spring and fall frequently attract boaters and other recreational enthusiasts to our beautiful lakes, rivers, streams and coastal waters.

Those venturing out need to be aware of the dangers posed by low water temperatures. On warm days, it is easy to overlook the fact that water temperature may be much lower than the air temperature. Furthermore, some rivers and streams are fed by cold runoff from the melting of snow upstream.

Immersion in cold water can rapidly become life threatening. Should your craft capsize…or you fall in a swift river…hypothermia in water with temperatures in the upper 30s and 40s can occur in just a matter of minutes. In fact…the human body cannot survive in water temperatures in the 50s and 60s for very long as water conducts body heat away 26 times faster than air of the same temperature. The cold water rapidly causes extremities to become numb…weakening the ability of muscles to work effectively.

The National Weather Service urges the following safety measures to protect yourself and maximize your enjoyment of our nation’s waterways:

Consider postponing small craft boating activities until water temperatures become warmer in late spring and summer. Keep in mind that even unseasonably warm air temperatures on mild spring and fall afternoons can drop rapidly later in the day.

When you do boat, canoe, or kayak; wear appropriate protective gear and clothing in the event of exposure, accident or capsize. Remember, no matter the season, when you are on the water always wear a life jacket.

Always file a float plan, letting a close family member or friend know your plans, your boats communication capability, and the physical details of your craft, all of which will assist rescue personnel in the event you get into trouble.

Safe boating is no accident! Please take the time to think safety first and plan appropriately for weather and water conditions before heading out on our oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams.

Thunderstorm Safety

Thunderstorms can be a mariner’s worst nightmare. They can develop quickly and create dangerous wind and wave conditions. Thunderstorms can bring shifting and gusty winds, lightning, waterspouts, and torrential downpours which can turn a day’s pleasure into a nightmare of distress.

There are no specific warnings or advisories for lightning but all thunderstorms produce lightning. A lightning strike to a vessel can be catastrophic, especially if it results in a fire or loss of electronics. If your boat has a cabin, then stay inside and avoid touching metal or electrical devices. If your boat doesn’t have a cabin, stay as low as you can in the boat.

Boaters should use extra caution when thunderstorm conditions exist and have a plan of escape. Mariners are especially vulnerable as at times they may unable to reach port quickly. It is therefore strongly recommended you do not venture out if thunderstorms are a possibility. If you do venture out and recognize thunderstorms nearby, head to port or safe shelter as quickly as possible. Ultimately, boating safety begins ashore with planning and training. Keep in mind that thunderstorms are usually brief so waiting it out is better than riding it out.

Avoid Boating Under the Influence

The effects of alcohol can be even more hazardous on the water than on land. Boating Under the Influence, or BUI, affects judgment, vision, balance and coordination. These impairments can increase the risk of being involved in a boating accident – for both passengers and boat operators. Alcohol is a contributing factor in about a third of all recreational boating fatalities.

It is illegal to operate any boat or watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state. Penalties can include fines, suspension or revocation of your drivers license and even jail time.

Every boater needs to understand the risks of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

For more information, click here to visit the NWS’ National Safe Boating Week website, or visit