Keep Boating Fun
In conjunction with National Safe Boating Week, Gov. Rick Scott has issued this week, Safe Boating Week in Florida. Florida leads the nation with nearly 1 million registered vessels across the state, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission(FWC). Additionally, Memorial Day weekend will contribute to a higher number of boats on the water.
Whether you are cruising, fishing or swimming, implementing safe boating rules will guarantee long hours of fun while out on the water.
The FWC ‘s 2016 Boating Accident Statistical Reports indicates the leading cause attributed to boating accidents in 2016 was the operator’s inattention or lack of proper lookout. Falls overboard are the leading type of fatal accident since 2003. Drowning is the leading cause of death.
“There should be no stigma with wearing a life vest on a boat. It is just as important as wearing a seat belt in a car,” says Buck, with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent boat insurance agency.
While life jackets prevent drowning, many people do not like to wear them because they are uncomfortable, too hot, get in the way of sun or hinder swimming. Maj. Rob Rowe, leader of the FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section, suggests wearing an inflatable model and you will hardly know you have one on.
Earlier this year a pair of University of Florida students competing in a fishing tournament were thrown from their boat while it was traveling at 57 miles per hour. The boat experienced a steering part failure. Thankfully both men were wearing life jackets and using a kill switch, which cuts the engine if the driver is thrown from the boat.
At safeboatingcampaign.com, you can read about different life jacket styles, how to find the proper fit and how to care for your life jacket.
For additional safety boating tips, the FWC recommends:
Wearing a life jacket
Using an engine cut-off switch lanyard
Designating a sober boat operator
Paying attention and keeping proper look out
Have an emergency locator beacon
Filing a float plan
Take a boating safety class