Boating Safety for Sailing and More
Whether you like to occasionally sail the waters or have contemplated luxury living on a boat, boating safety is fundamental. It can make the difference between life and death and ensure that every event is fun and safe. Boat safety includes several things, such as awareness of boat safety equipment, boating safety precautions as well as other general boater safety education and requirements. Which is why we compiled a simple introductory guide to address boating safety requirements and share key boating safety tips that can ensure you are always prepared for the best experience.
What safety equipment is required on a boat?
Depending on how far off-shore and the type of boat you are in, there may be specific additional requirements you have to meet. However for the most part, the safety equipment required for boats includes:
- Bilge pumps
- Distress flares
- Electronic position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs)
- Fire extinguishers
- Personal locator beacons (PLBs)
- Boat Safety Kit
Equiptment requirements for boats 16 feet – 26 feet
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, vessels 16 feet long to 26 feet must ensure that the following equipment requirements are met:
- Fire extinguisher. Motor boats less than 26 foot long are required to have one USCG-approved B-1 type fire extinguisher. if it is a non-motorized boat the fire extinguisher is not required but suggested.
- Visual distress signal. These are required for use after sun-down and when in coastal waters and high-sea.
- Sound-producing device. Boats and vessels that are less than 12 meters long must have a device that efficiently produces sound such as a horn, whistle, etc. The device must be able to produce signals according to the Navigational Rules, which you can find here.
- Backfire flame control, these are devices that are created to avoid open flame from leaving the carburetion system should there be a backfire.
- Ventilation ducts. These should be put in place to ventilate every close compartment with a gasoline engine or tank, unless the tanks vent outside the boat and do not contain an unprotected electrical apparatus.
- Vessel lightning. Navigational lighting must be displayed between sunset and sunrise during periods of reduced visibility such as when there is rain or fog.
As part of the safety requirements it is also necessary that life jackets be accessible and visible. Additional to this a type IV throwable device must be onboard. Throwable devices are cushions and ring buoys created to be thrown from a distance to someone in the water, these need to be held on to and not necessarily worn. Which is why having both life jackets and throwable floating devices is a requirement. It is also important to mention that those on board and in the water must in most cases also be wearing a lifejacket.
Equipment requirements for boats 26 feet- 40 ft
Equipment requirements for boats and vessels between 26 feet and under 40ft must have all the previously mentioned requirements and additionally to this these types of boats are required to display placards.
Additional Suggested Boating Safety Equipment
Additionally to this there may be equipment that is not necessarily required by law to be onboard but can turn out to be quite helpful to have in case of an emergency. Things such as additional anchor line and an anchor, bilge pump or other device to assist in the event of flooding, as well as a paddle or way for propulsion of the boat in case the engine fails. Also, consider that once off the water if the boat will be towed into land, it is necessary that a boat trailer safety chain is in optimum conditions to tow the boat along, you don’t want to cause an accident off the water and in the freeway, either.
For a more in-depth look at what safety equipment is required on a boat in Florida according to the type of watercraft or boat, be sure to check out the official Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissioner website.
What should a boat safety kit include?
A fully equipped boat safety kit can make all the difference in a critical situation. This is true whether you are sailing in open water or just cruising near the shore (Add link to day trip) for a day trip. Having the necessary equipment to treat a wound or assist in case of an emergency can come down to what you have accessible in the boat safety kit.
Boating First Aid Kit
For starters, a first aid kit is an absolute “must have,” the more complete the first aid kit the better. Some key things it should include are bandages of all sizes, water-proof bandages, gauzes, burn gel, antiseptic liquid, sterile wipes and alcohol, antibiotic treatments, stainless steel scissors, stainless steel tweezers, swiss army knife, motion sickness tablets, painkillers, fever reductants. This is by no means an exhaustive list but provides a clear idea.
Life Jackets and Extinguishers
Life jackets as mentioned in the boating safety equipment requirements section, are not just a good idea, they are mandatory. Ensure that there are always enough life jackets on board for the passengers. Both the life jackets and fire extinguishers must be visible and accessible, They should not be hidden or hard-to-grab.
Miscellaneous that are important when boating
Flashlights and extra batteries can also come in handy as well as a radio device and shock blanket. Shock blankets can make a big difference when someone falls overboard and needs to not only process the impact but also retain heat
Non-perishable food. Non-perishable food such as dried foods, canned goods and other long-lasting snacks should be kept in a waterproof container. Ensure that you also include a can opener and that it all remains safely sealed.
Boating Safety Course and Other Possible Requirements
In order to ensure that you have a safe experience, it is important that those operating a course have both knowledge and good practice of boating safety instructions and precautions. To ensure that this is the case with at least those operating a boat, there is a requirement in most places for a boating safety course to be taken. In Florida waters those operating a boat with an engine of ten (10) horsepower or more are required by law to have completed an approved boater safety course. Those that pass a Florida boater safety course will be assigned a boating safety education id card that can be used to prove they meet this law requirement. Keep in mind that the Florida boating safety education id card is not a boating drivers license.
It is also important to note that the boater safety card is not the only requirement and in some cases other important documentation such as a boat safety certificate is required to ensure the boat or watercraft is in good condition to be operated safely. For the most part a boat safety certificate lasts 4 years depending on the type of boat and state. The safety certificate must be carried. A boat safety certificate is a document that states the boat has been examined and is in good conditions to be operated.
Boating safety course near me
Florida boating safety education provides an online course alternative that issues a boater education certificate that can be printed after the successful completion of an online course. The boater safety card is delivered 3-4 weeks after the successful completion of the boater safety course.
How long is the online boater safety course?
This specific online course by iLearnToBoat.com for Florida is about 3 hours long and is one of the most interactive online boating courses. However since they offer the safety course online they also offer the certification for boating safety requirements of other states such as California, Texas, Delaware, and many more. You can check if their online option provides a boating safety course for your state by visiting their site at: iLearnToBoat.com
Boating Safety Tips and Precautions
The most common boating accidents for years have been caused by falling overboard. This common accident is many times fatal causing the majority of deaths due to drowning. Which is why the number one safety tip we want to share is to wear a life jacket and wear it properly. Make sure that you check that the size of the life vest is the right fit and that it is “Coast Guard approved.” Then, check it for perforations, tear, or broken buckles. Put on the life jacket and buckle the straps and zip up the necessary compartments. Lift up your hands and ask someone to check that it is properly adjusted by tugging gently from the top of the life jacket. Here is a 1 min video on how to properly wear a life vest.
Other accidents can also happen when fueling the boat, to avoid this make sure you are following best practices.
What is a good safety precaution when fueling your boat?
- Make sure the engine is off.
- Portable fuel tanks should be removed.
- Passengers should step off the boat when fueling.
- Check that no flames are present and there is no one smoking.
- Turn off electrical devices that can cause a spark.
- Make sure no fumes enter the boat by closing doors and windows and then opening them to release any fumes that may have made their way inside.
- Do not fill the tank more than 90% full. There should be room for the gas to expand.
- Make sure gas tank air vents and valves are open.
- Verify the gas cap has been tightly screwed on to avoid vapors from escaping.
- Check for smells or fumes, increase circulation. If you detect any fumes or smells, wait and don’t turn the engine on until the smell of the fumes is gone.
Amazing Safe Sailing Adventures – No Experience Required
When it comes to boating, no matter your location or destination, safety is always first. At Navisyo we pride ourselves in providing an unbeatable service and safe experiences. With well experienced boat owners that know the ins and outs of their own boat and the waters they navigate, you have the highest level of sailing safety skills at your disposal. All you have to do is book and enjoy the perfect adventure, experience, or flotel stay. Learn more at: Navisyo.com