One really nice boat

Boating in and around Forts Myers Beach, Sanibel and Captiva Islands

Let's go boating!!! Tips for a safe trip.



Waterway Watch

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Here are some tips to have a safe and enjoyable journey:

PREPARE

Is your boat ready for the boating season?


Get a free Vessel Safety Check each spring. A Vessel Safety Check is a courtesy examination of your boat (Vessel) to verify the presence and condition of certain Safety Equipment required by State and Federal regulations. The Vessel Examiner is a trained specialist and is a member of the United States Power Squadrons or the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. They will also make certain recommendations and discuss certain safety issues that will make you a safer boater.

This is not boarding or a law enforcement issue. No citations will be given as a result of this encounter. We will supply you with a copy of our evaluation so that you may follow some of the suggestions given. Vessels that pass will be able to display our distinctive VSC decal. This does not exempt you from law enforcement boarding, but you can be prepared to make this a positive encounter. Click here to schedule your VSC.

Are you ready for the boating season??
One of the best things you can do off season is take a boating class offered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. There is a little bit more to boating than turning the key. You learn some essential tips that may prove to be life saving during the season. Click here to see the available class times and locations in this area.

PLAN

Float Plan

A float plan doesn't need to be complicated. It can be a simple as letting someone know that you're going fishing at the point and you'll be back before nightfall. This way, if you are overdue the search party has some idea on where to start looking for you. If you are going on an extended journey, use a printed float plan (Requires Adobe Acrobat reader) and give it to friends or family. In the event you are overdue, the details that are supplied on the form will help your search and rescue efforts. One very important point to remember: If your plans change, inform the person who has your float plan. We don't need to send out a search and rescue mission for someone that isn't lost and really doesn't need rescue. A false SAR can cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars needlessly.

Prepare for your boat trip.

By the pure nature of boating, things are constantly changing. Be sure to check your Local Notice to mariners by the USCG. There may be a missing aid to navigation or special restrictions on a boating area. This is the place to check for important changes that can impact your trip.

CHECK

Check your vessel before your leave.
It is wise to have a simple checklist. Make your own or use this one (Requires Adobe Acrobat reader). It can save you time and aggravation later. There is nothing more annoying that getting on the water and you forgot your sunglasses or medication.

Check the weather.
It can change quickly. As the captain of your boat it is your decision to go or not to go. Before you leave, make an educated decision by checking the National Weather Service. Here are some excellent resources:

Make it a policy on your vessel to have a NOAA weather radio aboard your boat. Even if you're just fishing in the afternoon. Many Family radio Service (FRS) Radio's have the channels built in.

ENJOY

One nasty boating accidentA word about drinking and driving.
Although you may not feel drunk, the consumption of alcohol impairs your judgment. Boating Under the Influence (BUI) offenses are handled much like DUI offenses in that a conviction can mean harsh penalties. Federal law dictates that violators are subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 or a criminal penalty not to exceed $5,000, one year imprisonment or both. Depending on the state, you can also lose your driving privileges ashore. Use your common sense. Don't drink and drive. Save the libations for the beach or when you're at port. Keep your friends or family safe while enjoying boating season.



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