Six Boating Safety Tips For South Florida Boaters
It's hot outside, the sun's shining and South Florida families are celebrating the kick off of summer (Florida-style) by feeding their passion for boating and all things related to being out on the water. It's fun and relaxing but with boating comes a certain amount of responsibility and safety considerations as well. There's an easy way to get the most out of your day out on the boat: hire a professional boat captain! Captains are experts and know how to navigate through the waterways in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and all over South Florida. Especially on a busy boating holiday like Memorial Day, a captain can keep you safe, while you relax and enjoy the day. Above and beyond safety, good captains know the best spots in South Florida for snorkeling, dockside dining, fishing or whatever your goal is for your boating day. Your job? Kick back and relax with the family. Boating safety should always first and foremost when getting on board a boat. Following are some basics. Sticking to this list of safety tips will make for a fun and trouble-free day on the water. 6 Boating Safety Tips Wear life jackets The biggest safety advice for any boating trip is to wear a life jacket. The vast majority of boating deaths occur because the person involved was not wearing one. There should be a life jacket for every person on board the boat. Whether you're planning to swim or not, wear it. Save the alcohol for later The second critical piece of advice in boating safety is to avoid alcohol when driving the boat. Just like driving a car, alcohol greatly affects response time and the ability to focus on what you're doing. It's also just as illegal. Make a float plan and follow it A float plan is simply a recorded entry of your name, address, departure place and time, expected arrival and boat make and model, as well as any other pertinent information. Float plans are especially important if you're going to be out on the water for an extended period of time. The information can be given to a friend, family member or someone at the marina. There are also many mobile apps available to make this a quick and easy process. Watch the weather Check the local weather forecasts and radar before departure. Always be aware of what is going on in the sky. If you notice darkening clouds, wind changes or other such weather indicators, start making your way back to shore. Kid safety Children and infants should have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket specifically designed for their smaller size. Teach children not to run around on the boat, to stay seated while the boat is underway and to keep their hands and feet inside the vessel at all times. Always supervise children around open water. Another good safety precaution if you boat often, is to enroll your child in a swimming class or boater safety course. Get a free Vessel Safety Check The U.S. Coast Guard offers free safety checks for boats. They will inspect and examine the boat to make sure that all required safety gear and equipment is on board and up to date. There are often volunteers at local marinas offering safety inspections. You will receive a sticker to put on your boat. The sticker indicates that the boat is compliant with state and federal safety regulations. Whether your goal for this Memorial Day is chasing the big fish offshore in the Florida Keys or partying with the Miami crowd or just cruising around Florida's Intracoastal Waterways, addressing a few key safety precautions before you set sail will leave you prepared for anything...and an experienced Captain can make your Memorial Day boating adventure the best one ever!