Boating – The Top Things To Know in Florida

What’s a visit to the sunshine state without the sun in your face, salty winds in your hair and dolphins and manatees swarming around your boat? The image doesn’t sit right, no? A perfect trip to Florida will almost always be highlighted by a boating adventure, whether it’s a kayak trip along the Caloosahatchee River banks, a luxury yacht sail along Cape Coral’s shorelines or a chartered boat tour of the city’s gorgeous water canals. Florida is, admittedly, synonymous with boating, so if you’re looking to warm up along the state’s coastlines this year, the recreation is an itinerary must-have.

An all-you-need-to-know guide to boating in Florida

Are you up for a boating excursion in Florida? Well, there are several things to know before leaving the dock. First, however popular and pleasurable, boating is a state-regulated activity. That said, there are several laws and regulations to adhere to. Second, before setting sail, a handful of requisites exist to consider. With that, we’re covering six key factors to consider when boating in Florida.

Owning Versus Renting

When exploring your boating options in Florida, you can either rent or outright purchase a boating vessel. For individuals looking to regularly visit the area or perhaps commercialize the activity, purchasing a boat is never a bad idea; however, if you’re only looking to hit the Everglazed state for a short getaway, then renting a boat is the route to go. We’ll go with the majority on this one; the boat renters. Before paying for that boating voucher or trip, you should check out the available rental companies and find out their policies, pricing, package offers and vessel types. Do their vessels match your needs? How many people do they allow on board? Is there a passenger age limit? Will you be provided a captain, or will you open the throttle and set sail yourself? These are some of the concerns to consider before renting a boat in Florida.

State License Requirements

While Florida doesn’t have a traditional boat license, it does have set requirements for boat operators and owners. Regardless of the boating spectrum, you should look into these and adhere to the applicable Florida boating codes. For instance, those looking to sail a vessel are expected to hold Boat Safety Identification Cards and be at least 14 years of age or older. The identification card is only awarded to individuals who’ve completed the approved safety courses. Similarly, Florida does expect operators to hold a valid license and only operate a registered vessel. Whether you want to go fishing with your friends or have a romantic guided boat tour with your loved one, these factors are a can’t-miss consideration.

Pro tip: Before hiring any boat rental company, you must scrutinize their insurance paperwork to understand the extent of your liability.

Equipment Inspection

We’ve talked you through the paperwork. Now it’s time to observe safety. Boating safety is a frequently overlooked aspect; nevertheless, it is critical. If you are touring Florida for a boat excursion, we insist you prioritize your safety; scrutinize your boat for personal flotation devices, fire extinguishers, visual distress apparatus, lights, backfire flame controls and sound-producing devices. More importantly, inspect the boat for any damages and point them out to your renter before boarding to exempt you from liability. Lastly, you might want to check out the available amenities; equipment like coolers, washrooms, beds, and kitchens can come in handy for those long sails.

Marine Manners

Next up, familiarize yourself with and observe Florida’s marine manners, including sobriety when operating boating vessels, protecting marine life and their habitat, and adhering to zone and speed limits. While most of these points are punishable by state law, the Florida community prefers to push them as a common nautical courtesy. We might even go as far as mentioning avoidance of noise and water pollution, weather observance and offering assistance to other troubled boaters as part of exemplary maritime manners.

Personal checklist

We’re sure this may sound like an obvious point to some, but there’s no harm in a quick reminder. Don’t forget to pack your essentials, from sunglasses and sunscreen to hats and a change of clothes. Another item to check off your list would be snacks and water; we all know how the weather can get dehydrated at sea, so be sure to load up on those beverages and sandwiches. Another recommended inclusion on this list would be gloves and water shoes; this is especially important for those looking to venture into the sea, although it would help just as much in avoiding those slips and falls on the boat. To nip it in the bud, carry your phone accessories and electronic backups- chargers, power banks, multiple camera batteries, selfie sticks, et cetera.

Parting shot

Now that you know all there is to planning a boating adventure in Florida, your experience should be hassle-free. The tips mentioned above are meant to give you all the insight and information you may need whether you’re boat renting, tour booking, or in the final throes of packing up for that luxury cruise trip to Florida. If we’ve left out any critical aspect or concern you may have, don’t hesitate to reach out to the appropriate vendors or carry out your research for a more informed perspective on the subject. Happy boating!