Boating Safety Tip Sheet
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Media contact: Joy Hill, 352-258-3426
As boaters take to the waterways this Independence Day weekend,
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) boating
experts have some tips to help keep people safe.
- Be weather-wise. Know the weather before you begin your
- Make sure your boat and motor are sound and in good working
- Check all safety equipment, including U.S. Coast Guard-approved
life jackets, fire extinguishers, sound-producing devices and
visual distress signals and ensure they are readily
- Florida law requires children under 6 years old, and all people
using personal watercraft or water skis, to wear life
- FWC boating safety experts say all boaters should wear life
jackets and should consider purchasing the new U.S. Coast
Guard-approved inflatable life jacket.
- File a float plan. Tell a responsible person from where and
when you are leaving, where you are going and your estimated time
- Carry a cellular phone, and be sure your VHF radio is working
- Don't overload your boat with people or equipment.
- Everyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, is required to pass a
Commission-approved boater education course to operate most boats.
The FWC encourages all boaters to take a safe-boating course.
Information on course availability is at MyFWC.com/Boating
- Alcohol and drug use are major contributors to boating
fatalities. Also, impaired boaters come off the water and often
become impaired drivers, further endangering public safety. Don't
drink or take drugs and operate a boat or vehicle.
- It is against the law to be impaired while operating a vessel.
The FWC encourages people to report impaired or suspected impaired
boaters to the FWC's toll-free Wildlife Alert Hotline at
888-404-FWCC (3922). Callers may stay anonymous and are eligible
for a reward if their information leads to an arrest. But more
importantly, reporting impaired boaters may save
- Operators should pay attention, stay alert, mind passengers,
and be responsible for their vessel's wake.