With National Safe Boating Week from Saturday, May 19 to Friday, May 25, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary put together some helpful reminders. Make responsible boating decisions a daily habit, and think about taking an upcoming boater safety course with one of the Florida Keys’ five U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary units. 

DO

1.) Have enough life jackets (that fit properly and are easy to access) on board for everyone.

2.) Let someone know when you’ll return and give an idea about where you’re going.

3.) Know the area you will be in – have GPS, charts, compass – and know what channel markers are.

4.) Watch the weather – wind speeds, tide and maneuverability.

5.) Make sure you have the proper anchors and rope for the depth and bottom.

6.) Be sure to have a working VHF radio and everyone on board knows how to use it. 

7.) Use dive flags – up on the highest part of the vessel when in the water/down when underway

8.) Make sure proper safety equipment is aboard, including a first-aid kit.

9.) Have water, food, and clothing – a hat, polarized glasses, water shoes, sun protection, dry bags for cellphones and a ditch bag with immediate needs ready.

10.) Do make sure everyone aboard knows where all emergency equipment is and how to use it. 

DON’T

1.) Don’t overindulge in alcohol – this is a huge factor in injuries and deaths.

2.) Don’t assume (it makes an ass out of u and me) the weather, depth, crew knowledge and skill level, what other boaters know or where they are headed.

3.) Do not harvest catch illegally.

4.) Don’t touch coral, conch shells or dangerous wildlife.

5.) Don’t go anywhere near propellers – they’re sharp. 

6.) Don’t run out of fuel: general rule is 1/3 out, 1/3 to cruise around and 1/3 to get home.

7.) Don’t be without proper gear and safety equipment. 

8.) Don’t wear jewelry – fish think sparkly things are food.

9.) Don’t forget your responsibility to your passengers, your vessel, other vessels.

10.) Don’t forget: accidents happen in minutes. Stay aware, stay safe and have fun. 

– Contributed

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