After two months of quarantine due to the coronavirus, we are all more than eager to get out and about on the beautiful waters of South Florida. Although boating remained a safe activity throughout the quarantine period, many boaters chose to remain indoors and are now thrilled at the thought of getting back on the water. What does this mean? Lots more boat traffic!
With this in mind, it is more important than ever to be knowledgeable and very vigilant about boat safety and safe boating practices. Here is a quick summary of some of the most important guidelines to follow to make sure you and your guests enjoy your time on the boat and get back home safely.
Before you head out, make sure your equipment is working properly. Check your VHF radio, your GPS, and batteries. Check gas levels. Perhaps you already had the team at InterMarine perform routine service during lockdown, but if you didn't, now's the time to make sure your engines are running in tip-top shape.
You also want to make sure your life vests are in order, your first aid kit is stocked, and your lines are fresh.
Float plans are one thing that tend to be overlooked by eager boaters, but they are truly important, especially for longer boating trips. A Float Plan is a document that states who you are, what kind of boat you have, who is with you on the trip, and where you are headed. The Float Plan is completed by the boat owner or boat captain and then left behind with a trusted person during the voyage. This ensures that if, for some reason, you need help, help knows how to find you! Here is a sample Float Plan we have created for you.
Don't skip this step, especially if you are going on a weekend trip or heading out to sea!
Boating safety classes
We recently highlighted a few excellent resources for distance learning where you can brush up on general boating safety. If you haven't taken a course, or it has been a while since you did, why not take one of these FREE classes and just be safe? The return on your investment is priceless!
DON'T DRINK AND BOAT!
It may be very tempting to knock back a few cold refreshing beers while you're on the boat, but remember that a boat is a very large moving object without brakes. The captain must be fully coherent not only to maneuver his or her own vessel but to be able to avoid any possible dangers from outside sources, like sudden inclement waters or inexperienced boaters. Stay sober, enlist a designated driver, or hire a captain for the day if you must.
Maintain social distance
We also recently mentioned this, but while a COVID-19 vaccine is still not approved, refrain from rafting-up or congregating at the sandbars or lakes.
And because it bears repeating... don't drink and boat!
Yes, it's that important.
These five simple tips will go a very long way in ensuring you and your guests' safety. We wish you HAPPY BOATING!