BOATING TIPS

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Boating in Florida can be fun and adventurous but it can also be dangerous if the weather suddenly changes or if an emergency arises and you find yourself out of the boat itself. Being a prepared boater is important having spare drinking water, first aid kits, flares, flashlights and life vests. An emergency position indicating radio is able to notify the search and rescue agency if there is an emergency on the water. It transmits a coded message on the 406 Mhz distress frequency via satellite and earth stations to the nearest rescue coordination center which in turn notify rescue staff. With the PLB your position in the water is identified with GPS coordinates and you could be rescued in as little as 2 or 3 minutes. The PLB must be registered to a person, for more information visit myfwc.com/boating. In order to be safe on the water one should place close attention to your surroundings and pay close attention to landmarks or markers in the water as a point of location just in case the electronics on the boat fail and a regular compass is recommended as is a paper coordinates.

BOATING TIPS

It is very important to always stay and feel safe in the water when boating, before you head out for a day on the water you want to make sure you check the local forecast and weather conditions. Another important tip, is to always let someone know where you are going to be boating at the local vicinity, who will be with you and how long you are planning to be away. This way if something happens and you are not back home by the approximate timeline you told that person they can contact the coast guard and direct them on how to look for you and your vessel knowing the boating itinerary. When going boating it is always a good idea to know your boat well, in other words where everything is kept i.e. supplies, breakers, control panel etc. as it is equally important to know your boats’ capacity and how to load it properly depending on size. The final tip is after you have fueled up your vessel you need to ventilate it open the hatches, and always check for fuel fumes before starting it up.

BOATING ACCIDENTS

When you own a boat you are required to carry insurance in your state, if you have an accident while on the water, the boat operator is to report the casualty or accident to the states’ reporting agency according to federal laws. If the boat operator is unable to do so than the boat owner must provide this information. Many accidents can happen on boats including death, a persona can fall off of the vessel and drown or be injured needing medical assistance, boat can sustain damage , sink or catch fire. The reports are needed because they help to regulate and educate boating safety standards, help find alternative ways to prevent boat defects and accidents. These reports also help the industrial boating industry by advising and informing the public on boat recalls and safety malfunctions on certain equipment, brand or model types within the marine industry. From these reports statistical analysis and data is compiled and examined throughly along with other forms of data gathering all for the benefit of the public and the marine industry as a whole. By: Mari Dmowski

BOAT PROPELLERS

In todays marine industry there are many choices when it comes to choosing a propeller for your boat here are some tips when having to replace or upgrade your propeller. According to Overton’s a marine and water sports superstore propellers are generally made from either composite, aluminum or stainless steel. According to there website it is important when choosing a propeller to take into account the size and propeller style so that your boat will be running at optimal speed while within its rpm range. The propeller size is the diameter and pitch and a typical propeller has three or four blades. Here are the name brands of some popular propellers; Michigan Match Aluminium, Stiletto Stainless Steel, Comprop Composite, Apollo 3 Blade Stainless Steel, Solas Stainless Steel, Solas Aluminum among others. Cupped propellers are curved which is good to manuever the boat in small areas. If you are replacing a broken propeller you will need to order the propeller housing and the hub kit to get the job done, these can be purchased online or at your local boat marine shop.

UNDERWATER FISHING CAMERAS

Investing in an underwater fishing camera might be an option for you, if you are trying to catch a specific fish breed while out on the waters fishing. There are many fishing cameras available on the market today ranging in size, price and features all by different manufactures with name brands such as Aqua-VU Micro, Vanxse, Eyoyo, Innobay, Anysun Sony, Wosports and Marcum. Under water cameras started around the early 1990’s and they bring the underwater life to your screen they capture life as it is underwater. They can be used in all types of waters and bring education and lesson not only to marine biologist but to the regular fishermen point in case being they can educate the fishermen as to which lures or bait work best and with what species for example. Todays underwater cameras are smaller than decades ago they can be the size of a cell phone or remote control some anglers have reported finding artifacts on the lakes bottom. on of the popular mid-priced underwater cameras is the MarCum VS485C it comes with a 7” widescreen flat panel in hi-res monitor switchable color a resolution of 800 X 480 pixels, 50ft camera cable, has a sunshield, soft pack 12 volt 7amp rechargeable battery and more valued selling between $300-$400 dollars. By: Mari Dmowski

BOATING COURSES

If you are thinking about becoming a boat owner or recently purchased a boat taking a boating course is essential in whatever state you reside. You can take boating course online or in person online course are available through your local wildlife or governmental agencies or approved established education course providers such as Boat Ed in Florida. Boat Ed has state approved materials and content that meets the standards for boat safety education including boating laws and regulation according to FL law. The course can be taken from your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer and it offers the flexibility to learn at your own pace saving your completed work thus far. If you get stuck during your studies there is assistance available by high definition videos by professional educators, chat or telephone help. The course is $29.50, you just register, print out your documents and once you pass you will have your boating license, students have an unlimited amount of attempts for the test.

BOAT MUST HAVES

When you are a first time boat owner, there are a few essential things you will need to have and maintain on the boat. Here is a check list dock lines needed in case to decide to dock the boat at a marina or waterfront resturant they usually run between $5 to $50 dollars. Boat Bumpers for protecting your boats paint job and body they can be purchased single or in a four pack and range from $7 to $100 dollars. While some boats may come with a standard anchor you may want to upgrade it or need one altogether there are many different types of anchors i.e. claw anchors, fluke anchors, grappling anchors, mushroom anchors, navy anchors, plow anchors, PWC anchors, river anchors, shallow water anchors and slip ring anchors check with your owners manual for the best choice. New boat owners will also need life vests enough for the capacity of the boat, along with an oar and jumper cables. It is also good to have extra fuses, electrical tape, duct tape, first aid kit, a knife, spare boat key and boat registration and insurance.

BOAT MAINTENANCE

Aside from the regular engine boat maintenance the boats exterior and interior also need regular scheduled maintenance in order to keep it looking shiny. The fiberglass and gelcoat need to be cleaned, waxed and polished on a regular basis. The wax are to protect and seal the gelcoat, keep water at bay, sun and other elements as well. The polish removes oxidation and make the gelcoat shine. This is in order to protect the fiberglass and keep it looking new and to deter oxidation which can make finishes look chalky or dull. You can opt to have a professional detailer or boat place perform the work or you can do it yourself with a buffer or even a soft clean rag depending how bad the oxidation is. The marine canvas and eisinglass can become run down readily fast so special polishes and protectants can be purchased for these areas. The boats upholstery or vinyl take a beating not only from usage but from the change in seasons they must also be cleaned and polished. Another tip recommended by serious boaters is to yearly add lubricant to zippers and snaps that holds things together.

LIFE VESTS

Life vests are an important part of boating just like flying in a plane, life vest can save your life when out on the water even if you know how to swim. If stranded out in the water the natural elements will make anyone tired and the life vests will keep you afloat until help arrives. Life vests are available for men, women, children and even for your pet dog. Life vests come in a variety of colors, sizes and styles, they can range in price from $10 dollars to $100 dollars. Life vest can be already inflated or stuffed with floating foam material inside already or need to be manually inflated it is up to the consumer what they prefer. Dog life vests can vary in style and shape and can be purchased online or at pet retailers locally and range from $15 up to $50 dollars. Life vests can also be very functional as well, such as the tournament mesh fishing life vest which doubles up as a life vest but has special pockets with mesh covers for fishing accessories and has a built in rod holder. BY: Mari Dmowski

FLARES AND DISTRESS SIGNALS

All boat owners should have flares and other distress signals aboard their boat every time they go out in the water along with the standards safety equipment such as vest, first aid kit, flashlight etc. There are different types of flares available on the market today besides the standard red flares. Flares should be checked for their condition and expiration date every time you head out on the boat this could be one of the only ways of attracting help in an emergency. Visual distress signals should be used mainly when you see another boat or plane or nearby land to ensure someone will see you request for immediate help. There are two types of signals available today pyrotechnic and non-pyrotechnic, here is a list of the common devices used today according to BoatUS for distress signals;

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