Aaaah! What a great day to be a Florida boater! The weather was beautiful and the lake smooth as glass. It had been cloudy, cool and raining for four days and we were all getting nervous. We Floridians like our sunshine it’s why we live here! Enough weather bragging on to the “Better Safe Than Sorry”. When boating as a family safety is number one. We hear of boating accidents and it breaks our hearts most are preventable with a little common sense and care.
Here’s our list for keeping it safe:
1. Don’t drink and boat. If your going to take along alcohol (which is against the law in Florida in many areas) have a designated driver. Water, alcohol, boating they don’t mix. In a car accident you’re on land, passers by, help is a short call away. On the water you can drown and help is far away.
2. Life jackets on the kids. In Florida children MUST wear a life jacket until age six. Our kids are 19 and 9 but jackets are still on. Our 19 year old is special needs and our nine year old cannot be replaced. If an accident happens or bad weather than we’re covered. Have your kids practice floating in their jackets than if needed they’ll feel comfortable. Put them in the most comfortable jackets you can find there are nice ones out there.
3. Have enough life jackets for all passengers, it’s the law and will come in handy when needed.
4. Make sure your boat trailer is well maintained. No bald tires, bent axle or bulbs out. Bearings need to greased at least yearly and more often if your a heavy boater. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Ask your boat retailer or find a trailer business to check it out. (Twice we’ve had a tire come off the trailer while driving down the road! The Bekemeyer’s now own a double axle trailer)
5. We recommend a GPS monitor for every boater, you won’t get lost and you can tell someone where you are if you need help. When we first boated all the shore kinda looked the same? GPS leads you right back to the dock and come in various price points.
6. Last but not least, be aware of everybody around you. It’s just like driving a car but worse. No lanes, everybody headed in different directions, changing directions, some have kids on tow ropes…you have to be aware and alert at all times and watch out for other boaters. It’s not about who has the right of way it’s about everyone going back to the dock and home.
We hope everybody enjoys hours of safe boating fun, remember it’s “Better To Be Safe Than Sorry”. See you on the lake!