Staying Safe as You Boat Along Sarasota’s Intracoastal Waterways

One of the pleasures of living on the coast of Southwest Florida is boating. Whether you enjoy sailing, fishing from the comfort of your own boat, kayaking or canoeing, life in Sarasota will give you plenty of opportunity to enjoy these pursuits. While you are on the water, you’ll want to be sure to follow all of the rules and regulations in Florida, and also to keep yourself safe. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep your eye on the sky. In Southwest Florida, we tend to get thunderstorms most afternoons in the summer and early fall. Being out on a boat during a thunderstorm can be very dangerous, so make sure you know what the weather is doing before you head out. If you do see storm clouds approaching, head toward land.
  • Follow the posted speed zone signs. These can go a long way in keeping you, others and local wildlife safe. You need to be careful of seagrass, mangroves and manatees, among other things, as you navigate Sarasota’s intracoastal waterways. If you need a map of the local speed zones, you can find one here.
  • Make sure you have the proper licenses. If you are under 21 years of age, you need to take a boater’s safety course before you take to the water. Those over age 21 do not need a license to boat, but if you plan on fishing (including catching and release), you do need a fishing license.
  • Wear your life jacket. The U.S. Coast Guard says that the majority of boating fatalities can be prevented simply by wearing a life jacket. Keeping one stowed for each person is not enough; in the case of an emergency, there might not be time to retrieve and put on stowed life jackets. Keep yours on while you are in the boat.
  • Never boat under the influence. If you are too impaired to drive safely and legally, don’t attempt to operate your boat.
  • Review the dangers of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide can build up in your boat, causing symptoms ranging from headaches to coma and death. This lethal gas has no smell or color, and if you’re in an area of high concentration, even a few breaths can be enough to kill an adult. You can read more about the dangers of carbon monoxide as they pertain to boaters on the CDC website.
  • Get your vessel checked. While most accidents and incidents are due to boater error, some are caused by an improperly maintained vessel. The U.S. Coast Guard offers a list of 15 items that should be present on your boat. They also can check your vessel for free.

Boating on Sarasota’s intracoastal waterways is a pleasure that many homeowners on the Sarasota coast will enjoy immensely. It’s a part of the tropical lifestyle that is so popular in this region. If you are interested in making boating a part of your life, a home in Sarasota might be calling your name. Contact me to learn more about the various luxury homes and condominiums available in this pristine section of the Sunshine State.