Boating tips to keep you safe this summer. Part 1 of 2.
With an average of 265 days of sunshine per year, combined with so many exciting water activities, it’s no wonder people are flocking to SW Florida to fulfill their vision of, “living the Florida lifestyle”. With nearly 1 million registered boats in the state, people safely enjoy boating every day; however, mishaps do occur.
We want all SW Florida residents to practice safe boating. Therefore, to promote a safe and enjoyable boating experience, we are publishing safety tips from The National Safe Boating Council. Part 1 of 2.
1. Wear a life jacket.
No matter what activity you have planned on the water, wear a life jacket. Accidents typically happen much too fast to reach down and put on a stowed life jacket. Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved, appropriate for your water activity, and fits properly.
2. Know state boating laws.
Rules and laws can differ from state to state and violations can result in ticketing, fines or jail time. For the state of Florida, FWC is an excellent resource for fishing and boating regulations, and safety information.
3. Take a safety course.
Taking a National Association of Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) class can save your life in unexpected situations. One key lesson taught is how to transition from one boating environment to the next, which helps prevent accidents. Operating your boat in a lake in Wisconsin is quite different than operating a boat in the Gulf of Mexico, in bays or estuaries. Local boating safety classes teach boaters how to navigate the waters of SW Florida, plus how to handle your boat in various situations.
4. Make sure your boat is prepared.
Schedule a free Vessel Safety Check with a local U.S. Coast
Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons to ensure your boat complies with
federal regulations, state and local laws. They will check your vessel for all
required safety equipment, including life jackets, a working horn, and up-to-date
5. Know your boat’s capacity.
If you have too many things or people on your boat, this overload may cause your boat to become unstable and capsize. Maximum weight is the combined weight of passengers, gear, and motors. Boat Florida course.
6. Check the weather, including the water temperature.
Know the latest marine weather forecast prior to traveling, and keep an eye out for changing conditions. In coastal areas, such as SW Florida, pop-up storms are a common occurrence. Advanced training and planning in boat control during inclement weather is highly recommended.
7. Dress properly.
Always dress for the weather, wearing layers if cool, and a rain jacket. Bring an extra set of clothes in case you get wet.
8. File a float plan.
File a float plan with someone you trust that includes details about the trip, boat, persons, towing or trailer vehicle, communication equipment and emergency contacts.
Jason Richardson, Owner of Richardson Homes, is an avid boater and angler, who has been on the water his whole life. Born and raised in Fort Myers, he has been working in the building industry for 30+ years, creating dream homes for hundreds of clients from Port Charlotte to Marco Island. He and his family enjoy the many outdoor activities this area has to offer! Contact Jason to discuss new home construction or remodeling, 239-694-8889.