There are nearly 1 million registered vessels in Florida, and that means a lot of chances for a crash this Memorial Day weekend. WPTV and Florida Fish and Wildlife want to share some safety tips for being out on the water.
Last year, there were 836 boat crashes, a 16% increase over the year before. When a boat crash happens, time is of the essence for rescue. Your safety gear could keep your boat trouble from becoming a tragedy. Start by filing a float plan. Tell someone when you’re leaving and when you’ll return.
If it’s been a while since you’ve been out, check your safety gear. If anything is missing or damaged, replace it. This goes double for life jackets. One should be available for everyone on board, and they should be sized correctly.
Boats also need a way to signal for help or tell people of their presence. Horns or a whistle are one way. If you’re boating at night, a flare is a must. You could also have your passengers wear personal locator beacons.
Also, check to see if your boater safety card is up to date. Anyone born after 1987 needs to have one. You never know when an officer might pull your boat over for an inspection or tell you about an unsafe activity.
We hope everyone stays safe out there on the water this holiday. We all could sure use one after the last year!