Orlando, Fla.— The National Safe Boating Council reminds us all that being alert and careful when taking out our boats will help us stay safe in the water.
For us in Florida this is particularly important because as many people call it, we live in a “Swiss cheese.” Not only are we surrounded by oceans, but intracoastal waterways make our state the perfect place to own a boat. Not to mention the large amount of lakes that are suitable for boating.
When you live here, if you do not own a boat (yet) you will have friends and family who do, and knowing the safety rules is part of our day to day basic training to stay alive.
Don’t forget you should wear a life jacket every time you are on the water. While in your boat, an accident can happen very quickly and unexpectedly and as a responsible boater you must ensure your safety and the safety of your passengers.
Always keep in mind the Navigation Rules, or the Nautical Rules of the Road. Knowing how to respond when meeting, crossing or over taking another boat is the key to an enjoyable journey. If you believe there is a threat of collision you should immediately slow down, stop or steer away from the danger zone. Keeping a safe speed and having complete awareness of your surroundings are a part of these navigation rules.
This one is very common while on the road, but do we have to tell you that it is dangerous to operate a boat when drinking?
Well, at least you should know that it is illegal in all states and it happens to be a violation of Federal law. When the operator has a blood alcohol content of about .08, or the equivalent of five beers in one hour (may vary according to the person’s body weight), the operator is ten times more likely to die in a boat accident than one that is sober. Perhaps you recall a few recent cases featured in the news.
The dangers of carbon monoxide — Many boaters are killed every year because of improper cabin ventilation, poorly maintained equipment, and careless behavior. Carbon Monoxide or CO, is an odorless, colorless, and highly poisonous gas. If you start feeling symptoms like irritated eyes, headache, nausea, weakness and dizziness there is a possibility that you are being exposed to an area where CO exhaust accumulates. Always use CO detectors and stay off the swim platform when the engine or generators are running.
Also, the Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons® offer a free Vessel Safety Check.
By now, you may think you’re already an expert but boating courses are available, inexpensive and a quick great way to learn in depth the rules of the road.
Seventy percent of recreational boating accidents occur due to failure to pay attention, carelessness, recklessness, inexperience, excessive speed, and failure to watch for hazards. However, we are certain this won’t be your case, because as a Florida boater you do know the rules, you boat responsibly and you WEAR IT!
ENJOY LIFE RESPONSIBLY!