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Important Boating Safety Tips

One of the best things about living in Florida is the proximity to the ocean. Not to mention all the fresh water lakes, rivers, and wetlands in the state. Being so close to this many bodies of water means that boating is a popular hobby in Florida. However, boating can be risky and during the summer, the most popular season for boating, there is an increase of personal injury claims from boating accidents. So it is important to always be safe when enjoying this fun sport. Here are of the most important ways to stay safe when boating:

Pre-Departure Safety Tips

Before you even head out on the water you want to do a few things to make sure you have a fun and safe boat ride. These include:

  • Check the weather report and make sure it’s going to be a safe day for boating.
  • Let someone on land know when and where you are going boating and when you plan to return.
  • Make sure everyone has a life vest or life jacket and there is a lifesling or throwable floatation device on board.
  • Make sure there is a fire extinguisher, flares, and a towline on board.
  • Check the horn, navigation lights, GPS, and VHF radio to make sure they work properly.
  • Check bilges and pump any water out.
  • Check your engine and make sure you checking the lubricating oil and fuel level.
  • Disconnect shore power cable.
  • Make sure to program your GPS with return coordinates.
  • Make sure everyone on board understands safety procedures in case of emergency.

Safety On The Water

Once you have left the dock, there are a few things you should while on the open water to stay safe:

  • Pay close attention to the weather. Listen to your VHF radio and watch for changes in the wind, clouds, and the current. If the weather conditions start to become dangerous, head back to shore immediately.
  • Monitor fuel consumption, make sure that you always have enough fuel to return to shore. Use the “three thirds rule” meaning you use a third of the fuel to get to your destination, a third of the fuel to return, and a third of the fuel should always be kept on reserve in case of emergency.
  • Make sure you know the waters you are boating. Follow local maps and charts and stay within marked channels.
  • Always know where the nearest harbor or protected anchorage is located. Have a route planned in case you have to go there.
  • Be responsible on the boat. Do not drink heavily or horsearound. Have fun but make sure you don’t do anything that could put you or your passengers in danger.
  • Always be prepared to lend assistance in case another boat has an accident. It’s always a good idea to carry extra safety gear with you.

Safety When Returning To Shore

Once you’ve had a safe, fun time on the water, you still have to safely return to shore. Here are a few basic safety practices for when you dock:

  • Carefully pull into the docking area, this is where most boat collisions happen.
  • Make sure the boat is moored correctly with bow, stern, spring lines, and fenders. Check all lines for chafe and make sure the snubbers are in place.
  • Pump the holding tank and add tank treatment.
  • Make sure the shore power cable is attached and protected.
  • Check to make sure the main battery switch and inverter are off and the battery charger is on.
  • Fill out the logbook.
  • Let the person you informed about your boating plans know that you have returned safely to shore.

If you follow these basic boating safety techniques you will prevent personal injuries from boating accidents. Safe boating practices will help you make the most of boating season and will let you, your friends, and your family enjoy this fun hobby!

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

Important Boating Safety Tips

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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