Its summertime and you guessed it, the days are long and warm here on the Islands. You’ll notice an influx of boaters on the water, especially on the weekends and holidays. With increased water activity, comes a need for increased safety precautions on the water. Both boaters and swimmers should pay close attention to their surroundings while having their fun in the sun. To promote safe water practices, we’ve listed the following tips and resources for boating and swimming on Sanibel in the Summer.
Water Safety for Boaters
We’ve recently updated our “Ultimate Sanibel Boating Safety Guide” to include new statistics and resource links on a variety of boating safety topics. It’s important to highlight boating safety is not just a suggested “best practice” but a major responsibility you have as a licensed boater on the waterway.
Before you hit the water, you should conduct a complete check of your boat to make sure it is properly prepared for your trip. Are there an adequate number of life jackets? Do you have enough fuel? Have you checked the weather forecast for today? All of these questions are a part of your preparation process in order to have a day of smooth sailing.
While on the water, it’s important you know and obey the laws. Just like driving a car, there are rules to abide by such as speed limits, no-wake zones and boater traffic patterns. Boating on or around Sanibel and Captiva Island, you have a number of things to be aware of besides your own boat and passengers. There are many other boaters, some pulling passengers behind their boats, some fishing, and some anchored out and taking a dip in the water.
As if that’s not enough to watch out for, there are also swimmers, kayakers, paddle-boarders, wind-surfers and kite-boarders along the shoreline and back in the bays and canals. You should steer clear of these water goers, pre-cautiously providing them plenty of room to maneuver. If you must cross paths, communicate with them as best as possible with eye contact, hand gestures and/or verbal confirmations of your intentions.
Water Safety for Swimmers
Just as boaters are responsible for the safety of their passengers, swimmers should look out for one another while in the water as well. Safe swimming and water activities starts with awareness of your surroundings. Swimmers should stay within sight of the shoreline, using a landmark to help orientate themselves while in the water.
Before hitting the water, swimmers should communicate their intentions to someone on the beach or close to shore in the water. The beaches on Sanibel and Captiva Islands have no lifeguards watching out for distressed swimmers or potential harm, so it’s important to have an extra set of eyes checking on you every now and then.
As a general rule of thumb, be aware of your surroundings and look out for one another while enjoying water activities. Following these simple safety practices should result in a great day on the water for everyone!