One really nice boat

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

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



Waterway Watch

New 100 Yard Approach Warning

To Department of Homeland Security
To ready.gov
FBI Tips

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.

GET THE APP!

The official U.S. Coast Guard app gives you 24/7 access to the most commonly requested information and resources for the recreational boating public.

With the U.S. Coast Guard app, you can: - Identify the boating safety laws, requirements and resources available in your home state, the state where you keep your vessel or the state where you are planning to operate.- Request a vessel safety check from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. - Determine what safety equipment you are required to carry by law based on the size and type of vessel you are operating. The app also recommends additional safety equipment you might want to consider.- File a float plan with up to three friends, loved ones or other responsible parties. While you cannot file a float plan directly with the Coast Guard, the app helps you develop a float plan that will allow your responsible party to provide search and rescue coordinators with important information they can use to facilitate a missing or overdue boater case.- Review the most commonly sought out navigational “rules of the road.”- Access weather information from the closest NOAA buoy to your current location.- Report a navigational hazard to the Coast Guard – this could be a buoy or marker out of place, a sunken vessel or some other obstacle obstructing safe passage of a Federal waterway.- Report pollution to the Coast Guard – from a minor oil sheen at the dock to a major pollution event, you can help protect our marine environment.- Report suspicious activity to the Coast Guard – if you see something, say something! We all have a shared responsibility for homeland security. While the U.S. Coast Guard app will help you better prepare for your time on the water and may help you contact the Coast Guard in an emergency, it is not a replacement for a VHF-FM marine radio, EPIRB, safe boating classes and common sense. Learn more about being a responsible boater athttp://www.uscgboating.org/. The U.S. Coast Guard app is a self-contained mobile application that resides solely on your mobile device. Information about yourself, your vessel and your current or past locations is only shared with the Coast Guard when you choose to do so.



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