This week is National Boat safety week. Ahead of the Memorial Day holiday, officials want to remind you to make sure you have everything you need to be safe on the water.
8 On Your Side spoke to deputies with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to find out everything you need to know before getting the boat out onto the water.
Here’s what they told us:
CHECK SAFETY/RESCUE EQUIPMENT: This includes noise admitting devices (whistle), batteries, fire extinguishers, on-board electronics (VHF radios) and navigation lights.
BRING LIFE JACKETS: Make sure you have personal flotation devices (PFDs) for all aboard and make sure children wear a USCG-approved properly fitting life jacket at all times while the boat is moving.
WATCH THE SIGNS: Know how to read the red and green channel markers and watch for slow and no wake signs. These apply to all vessels.
WATCH FOR WEATHER CHANGES: Tampa Bay can have swells as high as 6 feet. Keep an eye out for a change of weather, so you don’t get caught in a dangerous position.
LICENSING: Make sure you have up-to-date boating license (needed if you were born after January 1, 1988) and registrations for your vessel.
ALCOHOL AND BOATING DON’T MIX: Consuming alcoholic beverages in excess will affect perception, reaction time and decision-making. Don’t drink and boat!
FILE A FLOAT PLAN: If you will be on the water for an extended period of time, let family or friends know about your plans and stay in touch with someone on shore.