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Per the United States Coast Guard data, someone is injured or killed in a boating accident every 2 1/2 hours. Similar to learning the “rules of the road,” it is important to be aware of certifications needed to be a safe boater.
Be sure to sign-up for boater safety courses today. Visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for a listing of classroom and online courses.
Depending on your vessel, it may need to be registered with the Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). Learn more about Florida boat registration laws, boating licensing, as well as boater education requirements on the FLHSMV website.
Boating under the influence is illegal and publishable by law. If boating and drinking, designate a captain to be responsible for the safety of your passengers.
Follow these safety tips to ensure a safe and fun-filled outing:
- Wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
One wearable PFD for each person aboard is required; and they should be stowed where readily available. United States Coast Guard statistics indicate that on average, over 600 people drown annually in boating accidents. About 88 percent could have survived if they had worn a PFD.
- Have a Fire Extinguisher Onboard
Fire extinguishers are a very important safety item. Make sure to inspect your fire extinguishers monthly to ensure they are properly stored, charged, and undamaged.
- Test your Boat Lights
Always test your boat lights before you leave the dock. If you use battery-operated lights, always carry extra batteries.
- Alcohol and Boating Do Not Mix
Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance and coordination – more than 50 percent of drowning victims are the result from boating incidents involving alcohol. Balance is one of the first things you lose when you consume alcohol, and when you combine this with the rocking of the boat, the chances of falling overboard increase.
- Watch the Weather
Check weather warnings and forecasts before leaving shore and while at sea. Remain watchful for signs of bad weather and listen to weather radio broadcasts on your VHF radio.
- Develop a Float Plan
Give a responsible person details about where you will be and how long you will be gone. In the event of an emergency, this information could be the key to finding you and bringing help to your location.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol or high sugar content since they actually contribute to dehydration.
Visit Miami-Dade Fire Rescue's website for additional information.
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