Boat Safety

Ready, Set, Boat! A Quick Guide to Boating Safety

    Cowabunga! Summer is in full swing and it’s time to get yourself behind the wheel of a boat! Grab your friends, family or co workers and explore the picturesque views that the coast of Florida has to offer with Southwest Florida Boat Rentals. Here, we value the importance of safety and fully invest in preparing you for a safe adventure. Upon rental we provide a full orientation on safety and we’ve prepared a supplemental checklist below. Now, without further ado, let’s talk safety!

The Safe Boaters Pre-departure Checklist: 

1.    Boat Plan : Although we do have a set distance for travel on our boats, do share with us your boat plan. It is a useful tool for safety to let someone know where you plan to be in the rare case of any rescue efforts. 


2.    GPS Technology: It is highly recommended that you download the NAVIONICS application onto your smartphone. This application is widely used for navigating the water. Don’t worry this isn't the only tool you’ll have! We provide a full orientation to prepare you for navigation. 

3.    Safety Equipment: Each boat is equipped with the basics of safety equipment which include a fire extinguisher, life jackets, flare/distress signals, floatation devices and radio. Use, location and policy will be discussed during orientation.

4.    Know Your Crew: There are important things to know about your crew pre-departure. You may want to ask if there anyone else in your party that is also certified to operate the boat? Are there any non-swimmers in your party? Does anyone have any medical conditions that need accomodations? Having a backup in command is a great idea if for any reason the driver is unable to do so. Make sure non-swimmers are always secured with life jackets. 
    Not too bad was it? Now that you’ve got the basics of safety under your belt come on down to Southwest Florida Boat Rentals for an orientation! Check out our “Boats” tab for photos of all of our rentals. Give us a call or send us an email and we’ll get you safely out on the water in no time!  

Boat Safety Tip #3

            You now know what to do to avoid the shallow spots out there in the Sarasota waters and how to easily approach the dock in Port Charlotte. Now, let's talk about an easily understood, yet extremely important topic: The No Wake Zone. If rules are not properly followed in these designated areas, it could leave you paying a major fine or even worse, a potential lawsuit. Just follow these tips so you'll do what you are suppose to do when you rent a boat- enjoy yourself to the fullest.       


   When renting a boat, you'll come across the inevitable no wake zone. To put it simply, a wake is basically just the waves caused by your moving boat, and you are held responsible for these waves you create. The last thing you want to do is speed in a no wake zone and damage someone's boat with your intense water current. You could even put water on the other boat, for example, with the tide you made or even make the captain of that other ship fall out because of your careless need-for-speed. Not only is this illegal with potentially severe consequences, but it can also ruin your day and the other person's. The Coast Guard does not take this matter lightly.

            Let's avoid these costly mistakes. First of all, make sure your boat is completely in the water in full displacement mode. A good reference point to use is always look behind you to see how big your wake is so you know whether to slow down or not. Your wake should be no longer than the length of your boat, and it will probably disturb the boats behind you the most, so please be mindful of this. Most no wake zones are about 5 miles per hour, but always look for the sign and speed limit. Since boats are a little hesitant in reaction time, start slowing down early to get a good head start on adjusting speeds. You always want to look out for traffic even if it's not in a no wake zone too. Look out for the ones on jet skis, kayaks, small boats, fisherman, marinas on the side, parked boats near the dock, swimmers or anybody or any boat nearby for that matter. Please be respectful to all the traffic around you and be of common decency to your fellow companions out on the water.

Rental Boat Safety Tip #2

Continuing our segment on boat rental safety, in my oppinion is one of the most tough aspects of boating -

  • Docking


While it might sound easy, this is the time where a lot of damage to the boat can happen. The problem with docking is that you are always in motion in a constantly moving body of water be it current or winds or other boats making wake.

From my personal experience of years of boating, I have a few tips on making the docking process go smooth. 

  1. Prepare to dock by telling all the passengers to be seated and have all your items away from the routes you will take to dock lines and cleats.
  2. Easy does it. Move in, as slow as you can while approaching the dock. Try not to use reverse at all.
  3. Have one designated helper be prepared to push or pull you in at the front of the boat. You can grab the side or rear.
  4. Once you are close enogh, pull your self in and tie up.
  5. When you tie up leave some slack in the ropes to account for tide and the changing load on the boat when people enter or exit.
  6. Make sure your rub rail is pushing against the dock pillars. Adjust the fender buoy in a way that no part of the dock touches or rubs on any part of the fiberglass of the boat.