It’s safe to say our winter season is coming to a close. The weather is heating back up and we are free to break out our swim wear and flip flops as we do the majority of the year here in Florida. The warm weather means many of you will be back out on the lake this week. While we all enjoy some fun in the sun, it’s important to remember that safety on the water is just as important as safety on the road. Here are a few tips for those of you that will be having a blast on the lake this weekend.
- Avoid Alcohol. While we say this over and over when we are talking about road safety, it’s so important to remember the same rules apply when driving a boat. You are twice as likely to be involved in a boating accident when you are drinking on the water. Many people get out on the boat and drink and don’t realize how much alcohol they have taken in while out in the sun. Be sure to save the drinking for when you’re not on the water. You may get a BUI, or Boating Under the Influence, charge and face some serious offenses if you are caught operating a boat while intoxicated.
- Wear Life Jackets. Each person on your boat should be wearing a life jacket. If that is not possible, be sure you have enough to cover each passenger if the boat were to begin to sink. The best option is to have them on of course. Though you may be an excellent swimmer, if you fall off of the boat you may lose your bearings and begin to panic. A life vest may be your saving grace if that happens.
- Create a Float Plan. Make a list of where you are going and how long you will be there. Include a list of phone numbers you may be reached at and the address of your destination. The plan should be shared with a family member or even an employee at the marina you are leaving out of. The point of the plan is so if you do not return and you cannot be reached, someone will know where to begin to look for you. This may save you a lot of trouble during an emergency.
- Take a Boat Safety Course. Though it is not required, you may want to look into taking a boat safety course. The course will teach you how to react during many different situations. It will also share the rules and regulations of boating in your state.
- Abide by the Rules. In the state of Florida, no person under the age of 14 is permitted to operate a boat. Also, no person under 18 is allowed to rent a boat. It is illegal for the owner of a boat to allow a person under the age of 14 to operate it.
As always, we hope you have a fun and safe time out on the water. If you find yourself injured due to someone else’s negligence on the water, do not hesitate to give us a call.