According to the U.S. Coast Guard over 4,000 accidents, 2,000 injuries, and 700 deaths occur each year during Recreational Boating Trips!
Before you go fishing learn all the necessary rules and guidelines to make your next Boating Trip a safe one!
1. PLAN AHEAD
2. BOATING SAFETY COURSE
Even if you are not required to have a Boater Education Card, take an approved Boating Safety Course. They are even offered online in many states!
U.S. COAST GUARD BOATING SAFETY COURSES
3. PRE-DEPARTURE CHECKLIST
- Is your vessel is in proper working condition? The U.S. Coast Guard even offers a FREE Vessel Check for recreational boats.
- Know Your Boat Limits- Most mono-hull boats under 20 feet in length should have a plate affixed to the hull of the boat specifying capacity limitations. If this information is missing use this quick rule of thumb regarding maximum load capacity:
BOAT LENGTH X BOAT WIDTH = MAXIMUM # OF PASSENGERS
**This is only a guideline and you should always follow the instructions printed on the boat. This accounts for passengers at 150 lbs. each, and does not include the weight of the motor, fishing gear, bait, coolers etc. Make sure that you are always under the total weight capacity for the best boat performance and to avoid capsizing!
- Chart/ Map- Know the area and bring a map for smooth sailing.
- Weather Report- Avoid inclement conditions on the waterways by researching weather forecasts.
- Float Plan- File a Float Plan with a friend, family member, or the marina. This will let others know when you expect to return and where you will be boating in case of an emergency. This Float Plan Example can also serve as a safety checklist for your next boating trip!
- Life Jackets for EVERY Passenger
- VHF Marine Radio
- Coast Guard Approved Fire Extinguisher
- Throwable Type IV Flotation Device with Line
- Coast Guard Approved Visual Distress Signals
- First Aid Kit
- Proper Boating Attire
- Travel/Storage Bag- For a Blanket, Dry Clothing, Electronics, and Documents.
- This SHIMANO Borona Bag is perfect to keep everything safe and dry!
- Even if you follow all the rules above, being intoxicated causes one-third of all Recreational Boating fatalities!
- Boating Under the Influence(BUI) is against both State and Federal Law for ALL types of vessels- large or small.
- Avoid alcohol, drugs, and any prescription medication that would impair judgment or cause drowsiness.
JUST VISITING FLORIDA...
If you do not have a boating card or license from your home state, check out this list of vendors that offer a temporary certificate for your visit.
REMEMBER: THE BEST BOATING TRIP IS A SAFE ONE!