Boating Safety Tips Everyone Needs to Know

Human error still makes up the majority of boating accidents. Discover the best boating safety tips for a safe and relaxing time on the water.

By Brand Ambassador | January 19, 2022

Boating is one of the most enjoyable experiences you could have in Southwest Florida. We all love the idea of sailing, but we also have to be cautious and prepared for any mishaps along the way. Following a few boating safety tips will give you more confidence when you are out on the water. As luck would have it, we are happy to share our knowledge with you. 

Some of the best boating safety tips include:

Ensure you have a boat safety aid kit

Wear a lifejacket

Check the weather forecast

Know the safety zones on your boat

While there is risk associated with any boating activity, these tips can help prepare you to avoid disaster. Read on for more details about specific requirements from The U.S. Coast Guard and many more helpful tips from us.

Why is Boater Safety Important? 

Why is Boater Safety Important

Southwest Florida is known for boating trips, endless fishing opportunities, and beautiful sunny weather. Visitors worldwide make their way to the Sunshine state, looking for excitement and relaxation on the magnificent waters. But, while we know that having a good time is a priority, safety should always come first. So, how do we practice safe boating?

There are numerous boating safety courses available, and they're not just helpful but also essential. The more you learn about safety, the more you reduce the risk of injury and property damage while keeping yourself and your passengers safe. Some boating safety courses include At the Helm Training, Best Boat Club, Masters Boating School, USCG AUX (the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary), and USPS (United States Power Squadrons).

How Do You Stay Safe While Boating?

When you're boating, safety should always be your primary concern. Below are our top safety tips.

  1. Have a Boat Safety Aid Kit

You cannot always anticipate an emergency, but you can prepare to the best of your ability. Always keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy. Not only will it provide you with visibility in the dark, but it will also help others see you in the event the boat breaks down. In addition, a fire extinguisher, life jackets, distress signals, and first aid kit should always be on the boat with you. 

  1. Wear a Life Jacket

The same way you would put on a seatbelt as a preventative measure when driving, you should also wear a life jacket to protect you from drowning in case of a boating accident. Unfortunately, many studies have shown that nearly all people who drowned in open waters were not wearing a life jacket.

Even if you think you're a good swimmer and that you don't need a life vest, the strenuous physical effort will eventually exhaust you. However, wearing a life jacket will help you stay afloat until assistance arrives. In addition, many personal flotation devices can turn over an unconscious person and have them facing up in the water. Some can even decrease the risk of hypothermia.

  1. Check the Weather Forecast

Although this may seem like common sense, staying ahead of the game could mean life or death. Even if the weather forecast predicts sunny skies, always remain alert for potentially severe conditions, such as fog, lightning, or thunder. These are indicators that inclement weather is on its way. 

  1. Avoid Overloading Your Boat

Overloaded boats are harder to maneuver and are more likely to capsize. In addition, excessive loading leads to a loss of speed, a greater chance of flooding, and the possibility of overturning caused by an imbalance in weight distribution. Therefore, improperly loading your boat can have severe, if not, deadly consequences. 

  1. Use Your Common Sense

One of the best safety tips we could give you is always to use your common sense. Much like driving a car, you should operate at a safe speed, stay alert, and be aware of potential dangers. You can avoid many unpleasant outcomes by paying attention, using your common sense, and being proactive.

  1. Complete Boating Safety Courses

Although a boating license is not required, Florida law mandates those born on or after January 1st, 1988, to complete an approved boating safety course and receive a Boating Safety Educational Identification Card by the FWC. Having an ID card proves that you passed the safety course. 

What Is the Safest Place on a Boat

What Is the Safest Place on a Boat?

Understanding your boat's limitations is vital for safety. Safety zones differ according to the size and type of boat. For example, if you’re on a large vessel, you are safest on the lower decks because there is less chance of injuries and falling objects. If you're on a small boat, you can't go to a specific spot, so the most important thing to do is to remain seated. In addition, place your feet apart and lean against your seat to give yourself extra stability and additional support.

What Should You Not Do While Boating?

So far, we've given you some boating safety tips; now, we're going to tell you what not to do on the water.

  • Don’t go faster than necessary, especially in rough weather. You may end up damaging the boat and injuring passengers.
  • Don’t forget to check behind you whenever you turn. Similarly, like driving a car, you never know when someone tries to overtake you.
  • Do not operate a boat while intoxicated. Alcohol and boating are dangerous combinations that could result in a severe accident or jail time. Even worse, it could result in death.
  • Don’t launch your boat without making sure the drain plug is in place. If you fail to check on this significant step, your boat will sink the moment it gets in the water.
  • Don't get near the fishing boats. There’s a chance that their lines may get caught in your propeller. In addition, you may scare the fish they're attempting to seize.

What Life Jackets Are Required on a Boat?

There should be enough U.S.Coast Guard-approved life jackets for each passenger on board, at least four adult-sized and two child-size wearable portable floatable devices (PFD). If your boat is over 16 feet long, you should also have one Type 4, throwable PFD aboard. Don't forget that if your PFD isn't in good condition, for example, if it’s ripped or has holes, it will not be deemed acceptable.

What are the Boating safety Seven?

  1. Wear your life jacket
  2. Take a boating safety class
  3. Carry all required safety gear
  4. Use your engine cut-off device
  5. File a float plan
  6. Be aware of weather and water conditions
  7. Boat sober, and be considerate of others

What Safety Devices Does the Coast Guard Require You to Have On a Boat?

While the U.S. Coast Guard has different requirements based on the type and size of the boat, there are a few essentials to keep you safe and in compliance with the law. We’ve listed some of the required boating safety equipment below:

  • Life jackets - By now, you've probably learned how vital it is to have a life jacket on board. Type I, II, or III must be available to all passengers. Type I is heavy but offers the most stability, type II aids in turning unconscious individuals to a face-up position, and type III is lighter, more comfortable, and great for passengers as a whole. Ensure to always inspect your life jacket for holes and rips before sailing.
  • Throwable floatation devices - In the event of a boating accident, there should be at least one floating device available on board. Some are even equipped with a line that can be used to pull people closer to the boat and out of the water.
What Safety Devices Does the Coast Guard Require You to Have On a Boat
  • Fire extinguishers - Boats smaller than 26 feet should have at least one B1 type extinguisher. Make sure you know how to use it in case of an emergency. Remove the pin, press the handle, then point it at the bottom of the fire.  
  • Visual signaling devices - While different boats require different visual signaling devices, one example would be orange or white aerial light flares. Many launch automatically, while others require the use of a flare gun. 
  • Sound signaling devices - Sound signaling devices such as horns and whistles are effective at any time of the day, regardless of whether it’s light or dark outside. Unless assistance is required, you should never use a sound-producing device on the water. 

Jensen’s Marina™ is Waiting for You

Now that you’ve learned a few helpful boating safety tips, it’s time to put them to the test. For those looking to go island hopping or fishing, Jensen's Marina offers a variety of boats for rent. Guests can book them for the entire day, and depending on which boat they choose; there is room for up to 12 people. So make sure to bring your friends and family with you!

We understand that being in the sun all day can make you tired, but you don't have to worry. Upon returning to the marina, your beach cottage is just a few steps away. So pour yourself a cold one, relax with your toes in the sand, and soak in the captivating views.  

Jensen’s Twin Palm Marina and Cottages™

15107 Captiva Drive
Captiva, FL 33924

(833) 668-7768
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