1. Life Jackets Save Lives. Most people who die in boating accidents drown. All vessels must carry one Type I, II, III or V - U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on board. Everyone should wear their life jacket when boating; especially small boats that could capsize in a wake or large wave. Children under 6 must wear a life jacket at all times while underway on vessels under 26'. On vessels operating 9 miles or more off shore, children under 13 must wear an approved life jacket unless below deck on in an in closed c cabin.
2. Are you a new boat owner, new to boating or just want to be a better boater? Take a safety course. If you or anyone in your family is 21 years of age or younger, Florida law requires that you complete an approved boater education course prior to operating a vessel powered by a motor of 10 horsepower or more. Contact the U.S. Coast Guard Station Ft. Myers Beach for more information 239 463 5754. In addition, you can call the U.S. Power Squadron at 466-404 and or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary at 283-2208 for information on Boating safety courses. Check with our members as many are well versed in instruction to include maintenance of your vessel and or trailer, area of operation, and practical vessel operation to bridge the classroom on to the water.
3. Watch for divers-down flags displayed from a vessel. They should be displayed from the highest point of the vessel so it is visible in any direction. Boats that travel within 300 feet of a diver down flag must slow to no faster than is necessary to maintain headway and steerage way.
4. Obey waterway markers. Lee County has a variety of waterway markers. Some mark channels and speed zones, some are informational. It's the Captain's duty to know and obey markers. Learn by using the Lee County Boater's Guide and taking a safe boating course.
5. Know your safety gear. Before boating, always make sure you have all the proper safety equipment on board:
- A personal flotation device for each person on board;
- A working fire extinguisher;
- Sound producing devices;
- A visual distress signal;
- Working navigation lights.
- A throwing device with a line attached and other flotation devices.
6. Keep a sharp lookout. Most boating accidents involve collisions. You should always be aware of what is happening around your boat to avoid accidents. Paying attention and keeping a sharp lookout can save your life.
7. Operator's responsibilities:
8. Carry VHF radio.
Most recreational vessels under 65.6' (20m in length) do not have to carry a marine radio. Any vessel that carries a marine radio must follow the rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The FCC does not require operators of recreational vessels to carry a radio or to have a license to operate VHF marine radios. Operators must however follow the procedures and courtesies that are required of licensed operators specified in FCC Rules. You may use the name or registration number of your vessel to identify your ship station (radio).
Users of VHF marine radios with digital selective calling will need to obtain a maritime mobile service identity (MMSI) number from the FCC. It is unlawful to use digital selective calling without obtaining this identity. You the option of obtaining this number from the Boat U.S. Website. Vessels that carry a marine radio, voluntary or not must maintain a watch on Channel #16 whenever the radio is operating and not being used to communicate. Such vessels may alternatively maintain a watch on VHF channel 9, the boaters calling channel.
Distress Call Procedures: Have all persons put on life jacke
a) Make sure the radio is on. Select channel 16.
b) Press/hold the transmit buttonClearly say: MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY Also give: Position and / or location; Vessel name; Nature of emergency;Vessel description and number of people on board. Release the transmit button.
c) Wait - if no response Repeat "MAYDAY" Call.
It is unlawful to intentionally transmit a false distress alert, or to unintentionally transmit a false distress alert without taking steps to cancel that ale
9. Man Overboard Procedures:
It is the Captains responsibility to advise all members of his or her crew on the MOB procedures to be prepared in case this happens. The MOB drill should be practiced frequently so you will be prepared to take immediate and proper action that could save a life. Further more, the skipper is also responsible to have on board the necessary gear for this event. It is a good idea to have extra throwable devices such as Type IV PFDs for immediate deployment called the "cookie crumb" system You also can use seat cushions for this purpose. If you are in choppy waters with white caps you will find it extremely difficult to locate a person in the water.
The procedures are:
10. Sound producing devices