Since Destin is such a water-based community, here are some helpful hints to ensure you have a safe and pleasurable boating experience. These tips come in handy whether you are an inexperienced or an expert boater. This information was supplied courtesy of the Local United States Coast Guard Station, who can be reached at 850-244-7147 FREE 850-244-7147
» Leave a float plan with a friend or relative. This info will be valuable to search and rescue units should you become the object of a search. Below you will find an example of a float plan:
- Where will you be boating?
- What time are you leaving?
- Where will you launch your boat from?
- Who will be going with you?
- What signaling equipment do you have on board?
(Radio – Flares – Flag – Horn – Strobe Light)
- Do you plan to make any stops at marinas or restaurants?
- What time will you be back?
» Don’t drink and drive. Use a designated driver. The marine environment with its wind, current, waves and resulting fatigue pose a significant challenge even to experienced boat drivers.
» Familiarize yourself with the local area. Know where the no wake and idle speed only signs are and obey them. Certain areas are designated because of boating congestion where collisions are a threat, and to protect valuable property that could be damaged from excessive waking.
» You are required to have a lookout at all times when boating. The lookout should keep the operator informed of all possible hazards.
» Familiarize yourself with the safety equipment requirements for your size boat. Your local Coast Guard Auxiliary can conduct a courtesy exam free and issue a decal once you meet all the requirements for your boat.
» Make sure your navigation lights work prior to going boating at night. Navigation lights are required to be displayed from sunset to sunrise.
» Ensure there is a life jacket for each person on board and that it fits.
» Protect our environment. It’s the only one we have. Report polluters to the Coast Guard and Florida Marine Patrol.
» If you encounter someone who needs assistance lend them a hand. Placing a radio call for someone can save a lot of time and money for those in distress and the search units.
For more information contact your local Coast Guard Station for federal requirements or the Florida Marine Patrol for state requirements.