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Safe at Sea: Do's and don'ts of safe boating

January 23, 2019
By PAT SCHMIDT , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Following a few simple "do's and don'ts" of safe boating will help you chart a safe course toward the fun and excitement of recreational boating. The list includes:

- Do wear a life jacket. Remember: "Life jackets. They always float. You don't!"

- Do observe the nautical Rules of the Road.

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- Do check the weather forecast before getting underway.

- Do keep a constant lookout.

- Do make sure your safety equipment is operational.

- Do have an operating communication system - VHS radio.

- Do leave a "Float Plan" with a relative or friend on shore. Let them know what time to expect your return.

- Don't overload your boat.

- Don't mix alcohol and boating.

These "do's and don'ts" focus on using common sense. More often than not, boating accidents result from a chain of circumstances or behavior which are easily avoided. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, more than 90 percent of all recreational boating accidents involve an operator with no formal boating safely instruction.

America's Boating Club - the United States Power Squadron - promotes boating safety, education and public service and boating-oriented social opportunities. One of its goals is to lower statistics like those reported by the U.S. Coast Guard. The club offers educational classes and seminars covering all aspects of boating, from basic safe boating to advanced celestial navigation.

For those unclear on the nautical Rules of the Road, or safe boat operations, the America's Boating Club of Sanibel-Captiva will offer the America's Boating Course on Jan. 29 and Feb. 9 and again on March 12 and 27. For more information or to sign up, visit online at

Pat Schmidt is a member of America's Boating Club of Sanibel-Captiva. For more information, contact 239-985-9472 or or visit online at



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