Summertime, and the livin’s easy, especially in Key West, Florida!
Whether you’re docking at the Bight Marina or spending time here as a boat passenger, safety on the water is everyone’s responsibility. On that note, here are a few ways to make sure boating safety takes a front seat this summer.
1. Don’t Drink and Boat!
U.S. Coast Guard data shows that in 2019, alcohol played a role in 40 boating accidents and 18 fatalities. That’s 18 fatalities too many, and it’s also against the law to boat while intoxicated.
2. Wear a Life Jacket
No matter the occasion, remember to always to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while on a boat, and make sure everyone around you is wearing one, too. Be proactive. Don’t wait until an accident happens! For information on proper sizing and other details you should know, check out the Water Sports Foundation’s Choosing the Right Life Jacket resource.
3. Stay Hydrated
The summer time heat can be extra grueling, even if you’re surrounded by water. Make sure to drink plenty of water before and during your time out on the boat. Specifically, drink at least 64 ounces a day, and it’s always helpful to bring extra water wherever you end up going.
4. Don’t forget your Sunscreen
Make sure you’re using a broad spectrum sunscreen, which will be indicated on the sunscreen’s label. Broad spectrum means the sunscreen includes ingredients that effectively protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Also, clothing and UV-blocking sunglasses can be a big help in protecting your eyes and skin from sun damage. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreen with 1) Broad-spectrum protection (protection from UVA and UVB rays), 2) an SPF of 30 or higher, and 3) Water resistance.
5. Stay Connected
When boating, it’s critical to keep in touch and inform others of your schedule, especially in case of emergency. Cell phones may not reliable in an emergency situation, so do your due diligence by having at least two communication devices that can work when wet, such as satellite phones and personal locator beacons (PLB).
6. Respect your Boating Neighbors
Be kind, follow the rules, and respect other boaters and those using the water. It makes everybody’s experience that much better!