It’s the hottest time of year for Florida and the water couldn’t feel better than it does now when you need a cool off. That means that getting on the boat this season is going to be non-stop for your family, but on days without preparation, you’ve probably come home with sunburns or had to cancel your trip when you realized you were short on life jackets or found out a big storm was coming later in the day.
It’s a tricky time of year to go boating because of more traffic, storms every day, and hazards to be aware of like swimmers or watercraft operators that have been drinking. It’s important to keep your family safe by following these boating tips for a summer of fun on the water.
Be aware of other people
It’s important to be aware of the people around you this summer as traffic increases on the water. There may be swimmers around when you are trying to dock your boat or during takeoff. There may be other boaters that are driving under the influence, something that could impair the ability to act quickly.
Children on board could be rocking the boat or fooling around that could lead to injury. It’s important to be aware of other boaters, pedestrians, and your own family to make sure you are keeping everyone safe during boat operation.
Stock the boat ahead of time
Jax Boat Club furnishes all the necessary safety equipment but if your still not a member, read this closely: You’ll want to stock the boat with all of the safety equipment you’ll need for a day of fun on the water. Start by making sure you have enough life jackets on board. Even if you only have to have them accessible instead of worn, sometimes a sudden impact of a boating accident will not allow you the time to react and put on the life jacket. Children must wear them and they need to fit properly for their weight range. Be sure to test them annually for buoyancy.
Make sure you have gassed up the boat and then open your hatches and run the blower to check for fumes. If there are fumes, you won’t want to start the engine. Then have an area in the boat for emergency supplies like a fully-charged battery, engine oil, electronic gear, flares, ponchos, and a weather radio. Don’t forget boat lights, a fire extinguisher, and a first aid kit. Jax Boat Club takes care of all of this for you as well.
Now you can focus on your other family fun supplies, including sunblock and extra clothing for sun protection or a change of clothes from getting wet, plenty of water, snacks and meals, and solar chargers for electronics.
Check the weather forecast
It’s important to be aware of the weather during the Florida summer since it’s now hurricane season and it storms every day at some point in the afternoon. If the sky gets dark with clouds or distance rumbles of thunder, it’s important to get to land and seek shelter immediately. You should not be fishing, swimming, or boating during a storm, but if you are stuck on the water, you should crouch down in the middle of the boat or go below if you can.
Follow boating rules
Make sure you are following boating rules by learning them in advance. Along with having life jackets and children in them, you need to understand the laws of Florida when it comes to boat safety, certifications, and licenses. You can have the US Coast Guard Auxiliary do a Vessel Safety Check for you for no charge. You should let someone know where you are and when you plan to return in case a search and rescue are needed.
Do not overload your boat and check for the maximum capacity for starting your trip. Learn the protocol for someone going overboard which includes turning off the motor and propellers, keeping clothes on and putting on a life jacket, and calming paddling slowly to help others while not wasting your own energy. Lastly, learn boating courtesy to other boats and swimmers by keeping a safe distance and your wake low when near others.
This info is a part of the FL Boating Safety Certificate which you will receive in the Jax Boat Club initial New Member training. Learn more about what we offer here.
Summertime is a wonderful time to hit the water but practicing boating safety tips will only make the experience more enjoyable.