The Ultimate Sanibel Boating Safety Guide

Recreational boating is an extremely popular pastime for many people. However, recreational boating does come with its fair share of dangers. T he United States Coast Guard reported 688 deaths, 3,686 injuries, and 5,223 accidents due to recreational boating in 2007 alone. Property damage was estimated to be more than $53 million. Despite the startling statistics, boating safety has been improving in recent years as the U.S. Coast Guard reports. In 2010, the number of people who died from boating numbered at 672, which was down 9 percent from just the prior year. It’s for these reasons that it’s important that all license boaters and even passengers practice boating safety. Whether at sea or at a lake, developing the necessary skills to operate a boat, following the rules of the waterway, and knowing what to do in case an emergency occurs is vital. Safe boating is a huge responsibility because lives are at stake: yours, passengers’ and other boaters’. Look to the resources below for more information on boating law, safety, weather, and emergencies.


Before venturing out on a boating trip, it’s a good idea to brush up on the laws and regulations pertaining to recreational boating. Every state has specific boating laws so it’s important to check the rules and regulations for the state in which you will be boating in. Remember, that most states update and change their boating laws annually so what may have been permissible the past year could very well be illegal this year. Staying on top of your state’s current boating laws and regulations is a smart idea. Boating laws pertain to vessel registration and licensing, vessel equipment, vessel speed restrictions, accidents, reckless and careless operation including boating under the influence, operator education and instruction, and more. Similar to a driving licence, one must apply for a boating license which allows you to operate a boat legally. It involves a course and examination. Boating laws are put in to place to protect you and other boaters and passengers. All states have zero tolerance and/or strict laws when it comes to careless boating as well as boating under the influence. In addition, the US Coast Guard requires all vessels to have safety equipment on board such as personal flotation devices, fire extinguishers, whistles, nighttime visual distress signals, and other safety devices. As you can see, boating laws can be quite complicated so it’s best to be fully prepared.

Boating: Laws

Boating: Licensing

Boating: Careless Operation

Boating: Equipment Required On board


While boating is a popular recreational pastime, it carries inherent risks that can leave boaters seriously injured or even dead, therefore heightening the need for proper boating safety precautions. Boating safety includes basic and common sense practices such as wearing life jackets and making sure that there are enough life jackets for everyone aboard. Boating safety also includes practices to make sure that one operates his or her boat while free from influences such as drugs and alcohol, both of which lead to conditions that can drastically worsen the chance for injury and even death. In addition, a majority of recreational boaters use their boats for more than cruising around, these people often enjoy participating in water sports and activities that are attached to boating such as fishing, waterskiing or wakeboarding. These activities, while enjoyable only if done under a strict adherence to safety precautions, mandate handling the boat properly while pulling someone behind the boat and also being attentive to other boaters sharing the same body of water.

Boating: Basic Operation

Boating: Etiquette and Rules of the Waterway

Boating: Sports Safety

Boating: Wildlife and the Environment


Because the weather often has an impact on boating, it is imperative and recommended that any boater check the weather report before he or she heads out onto the water. One of the biggest problems that any boater will face from the weather is the possibility of strong winds, which is particularly the case on lakes. Thunderstorms are another area of concern for any boater, and the problem with thunderstorms is the lightning because boaters are vulnerable due to them standing in an open area. Both extreme heat and cold are yet another threat to boaters since both are weather extremes that are not easily tolerated. Boaters can guard themselves from either extreme by dressing appropriately or avoiding going boating altogether when the weather is too extreme. Checking weather reports ensures that boaters do not encounter any surprises for which they are not prepared.

Boating: Lightning Safety

Boating: Storms

Boating: Tides and Currents


Accidents can occur even if one makes all the necessary preparations, takes all the possible precautions, and is as ready as they can be on the water. That’s why it’s essential that boaters prepare for emergencies. One situation that all boaters should prepare for is the chance that a passenger falls overboard. If this occurs, the first one to spot the man or woman overboard should yell, “Overboard!” and a life jacket or ring should be thrown to the person in the water. Many other accidental and critical situations that could also strike while boating. They could consist of a leak on the boat; unruly passengers; hypothermia; colliding with another boat; capsizing occurrences; and even groundings of the boat. While most people will never experience these boating misfortunes, they can happen to anyone and it’s vital that boat operators and passengers follow safety measures and know what to do in case of emergency. 

Boating: Rescues

Boating: Life Saving Maneuvers