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Florida Marine Industry Supports Boating Safety

Sep 4, 2008
Florida is the perfect for getting out on the water with family and friends, but a boating accident could not only ruin the day, it could cost lives.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) are encouraging all to be safe year round and here are a few reminders.

- Drinking and boating don't mix, and now you can be arrested for Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

- Don't overload your boat with too many people and equipment, most boats are labeled with the maximum weight capacity

- Get a weather forecast, and remember that afternoon thunderstorms are a daily occurrence in Florida

- Learn about navigational markers, get a chart and GPS

- Propeller Safety, Educate children and adults alike to be careful of propellers and always turn off the engine when retrieving a skier or tube riders

- Always wear a Personal Flotation Device, Type III PFDs are comfortable enough to wear whenever you're on the water

- Give your boat a pre-trip inspection, salty air corrodes wiring and there is nothing worse than staring at a huge thunderstorm and your boat won't start. Also check your navigational lighting, the FWC will now ticket you for non-working lights, even during the daytime.

- Take a Boating Course, even if you're an experienced boater, we're never to old to learn something new

Required Safety Equipment (Check Regulations for Your Particular Vessel)

Personal Flotation Devices: One approved Type I, II, or III for each person on board or being towed on waterskis etc., in addition, one throwable Type IV device

Fire Extinguisher: Must be USCG approved, Must be serviceable condition

Visual Distress Signal: Required on the high sea and coastal waters only

Sound Producing Device: Every vessel less than 12 meters (39.4 ft) in length must carry an efficient sound producing device

For a safe boating course, check with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadron.

The Florida Marine Industry

In Florida, boating and the marine industry are a large part of the economy. Not only are boats used by recreational boaters, large watercraft are also used by commercial fishermen, tour operators and transportation industries like shipping and cruise lines. Watercraft are also used by law enforcement, search/rescue and homeland security.

The marine industry also provides many jobs in Florida. In fact many cities in Florida are famous for their yacht building. Stuart, north of the Palm Beaches is known for sport fishing yachts. Miami and Fort Lauderdale are also known for Mega Yachts and their annual boat shows.

Current international economic conditions and high energy prices have effected the Florida marine industry. Recreational boating has been hardest hit, with layoffs at many builders of fishing boats as well as specialty boats for skiing and wakeboarding. Other boats such as family runabouts, pontoon boats and other small boats have been impacted. The strongest sales have actually been larger yachts and sport fishermen.

The Florida marine industry is very active in promoting safe boating to the public. Many are involved in safe boating programs, education and training.
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