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New Initiatives To Push Boating Safety

The Marine Industries Association of Southwest Florida and Tampa Bay and Discover Boating have produced excellent new materials to educate and promote boating safety, especially to the thousands of newbies that have recently joined the boating lifestyle.

As part of its ongoing support of member dealers, local marine law enforcement units and boating education groups, MIASWF introduced an illustrated, information-packed reference card titled “Know Before You Go.” It’s another component of the association’s “Go Boating Florida” campaign.

“This compact card is particularly aimed at the new boater but a great reference for all boaters,” says John Good, MIASWF executive director. “It’s an outgrowth of the safety forum we held earlier this year that included 15 law enforcement and government agencies and more than 30 marine industry businesses for a deeper dive into increasing concerns for boating safety.”

(Click here for more about MIASWF’s forum with law enforcement.)

It was revealed in a Coast Guard study that accidents, injuries and fatalities in 2020 were up compared with the previous year, breaking a multiyear downward trend. Moreover, the top four reasons for accidents were:

1. operator inattention

2. operator inexperience

3. improper lookout

4. excessive speed

To focus on these issues, the “Know Before You Go” card has a 13-point checklist, but it also includes such critical sections as understanding wake zones and symbols; knowing aids to navigation and channel markers to avoid running aground; properly approaching or overtaking another boat; and pointers for paddlers, weather and tides, dive flags, seagrass and more.

“The many waterways in our region of Florida are unique and can often be unpredictable,” Good says. “Carrying our guide on board can reinforce the best actions for our boating customers. The guides are also something local law enforcement marine units requested so they can be carried aboard their boats and provided to all boaters they encounter.”

To continue the focus on boating safety, MIASWF will premiere a new Boating Edu-tainment Center at its Fort Myers Boat Show, Nov. 11-14. The center will include features such as knot and cleat tying, making fishing rigs, boating basics seminars, kids’ activities and more. The show is staged along the Fort Myers downtown waterfront.

Discover Boating Launches Safety Map

Discover Boating launched an interactive state-by-state safety map that provides boaters with an easy-to-use tool to find information about the education course requirements and/or certificates needed in their states before getting on the water.

Industry stakeholders are encouraged to post the map on their websites and share it across social channels, e-mails and newsletters. Click here for the Discover Boating resource center to access the map's embed code, as well as shareable boating safety-related content, posts and images you can share with customers.

The interactive map includes life jacket and education requirements, the minimum age necessary to operate a vessel or PWC, and trailer registration requirements.

As more and more families join the boating ranks, pushing new-boat sales to a 13-year high in 2020, it’s imperative that every level of the industry reach out to educate them by utilizing these important safety materials.

Remember: The best boat outing is a safe boat outing.

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