Here are our top five tips for Florida boating safety (we’re assuming you have reviewed your Florida yacht insurance and know your coverage is adequate, so that’s not on this list!):
Wear a lifejacket when you’re on the water. Save the arguments about being a good swimmer or having loads of experience on the water because sadly Florida leads the nation in annual drowning deaths. And you know what? Most of the people who drown each year were thrown overboard. Stats don’t lie but vanity kills: get a lifejacket; and if you’re really worried about it looking too bulky, invest in one of the newfangled and much smaller inflatable ones that will inflate on impact.
Watch out for local wildlife. And we don’t mean just hope to see them, but actually be careful while you’re on the water such that you don’t accidentally hurt dolphins or manatees by running into them. This means you need to be watchful for signs that there are dolphins or manatees in the water nearby, even if you’re not in areas marked by wildlife markers (because the mammals don’t always observe what the signs say!!). If you are in a designated wildlife zone, please observe restrictions so you don’t hurt any of these gentle creatures.
Brush up on your boating safety. The state of Florida takes boating safety very seriously (as seriously as your Florida yacht insurance specialists!). If you’re visiting the sunshine state, you are required to have taken a boating course in your home state or take one in Florida before you rent or buy a boat. Taking a Florida boating course helps ensure that everyone knows the rules for navigating the waterways. And if you have taken one, it never hurts to brush up on your boating safety before a trip.
Inventory your safety gear. When you’re boating in Florida, you need to have proper emergency gear not only on your boat, but easily accessible. Check your supplies to ensure everything is in good condition and you have the First Aid supplies you might need for your trip (enough for every guest on board your craft). The reason this is taken so seriously is that a lot of boating in Florida is out on the open water and things can go very wrong very quickly. Make sure that you check the weather for seasonal risks like hurricanes and stay aware of your surroundings.
Observe the rules. We know that when people are on holiday, and spirits run high, that people want to have fun, but remember that yours is not the only yacht out there. There are nearly a million registered boaters in the state, so Florida waterways are extremely busy. Horseplay, drinking while boating, or distracted boating can result in accidents or injury – and needing to make a claim with your Florida yacht insurance specialist. While we’re here to help you, we’d rather not hear from you under those circumstances! Mind your manners and pay attention.
If you follow our five tips and ensure your Florida yacht insurance is adequate, you will have minimized your risk out on the water in the Sunshine State. Contact the yacht insurance professionals at Global Marine Insurance to review your policies or get answers to any of your questions.