Florida has an abundant waterway system which gives boat owners the opportunity to go boating in Florida’s intercoastal water. The intercoastal waterways drain into the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. In Florida, the channel can be found in the Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Daytona Beach and Miami. To help boating enthusiasts to find the best place for them to boat, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Division have developed a boating guide that lists the best locations of lakes, rivers, creeks where one can enjoy the waters of Florida.
The inland lakes found in Florida are divided into two categories namely inland lakes and bay lakes. Intercoastal lakes usually provide water for boating in Florida but bay lakes are more commonly used as landing areas for cruise ships. Although not as deep as other lakes, some of the inner lakes have rapids that can be risky for larger boats.
When choosing equipment for boating in Florida, safety must be the first consideration. Helmets, life jackets, paddles, lines, lights, and buoys are some of the basic boating equipment required by law. Each boat owner should purchase a helmet that fits his or her head. Life jackets should be of good quality and installed at the right place to avoid accidents. Lights are of great importance as they are essential during night boating, which is a very popular activity in Florida.
In addition, it is advised that people avoid taking extra passengers on board who do not have sailing experience or who do not know how to sail a boat. Also, there are certain times when fishing boats or motorboats are parked near the shore. If you are intending to take a boat ride, you should contact the marina management and ask permission to go on board. They will also give you boating information on the upcoming sailings. You can also join some boating clubs and get advice about where to go for boating in Florida.
People should also be careful when crossing the intercoastal waterway as some areas are known to be more dangerous than others. There are some areas where ships are mostly docked while at other places, such as in Fort Lauderdale, there are barges and tugs waiting to take people across. Some areas have warning signs that warn about the high risk of getting into trouble especially for those who do not know how to swim. A life jacket and leash are recommended during these times.
People who are unfamiliar with boating in Florida should get the help of the state’s tourism commission before setting out on a boat ride. They offer information on water safety, which is critical if going into the intercoastal waterway. In order to prevent untoward incidents, you should also be on your guard when it comes to the weather conditions. A high wind can often make boats unstable so it is best to plan your trip for a time when the wind is blowing towards the east. Keep an eye out for watermarks on the boats to determine their ages and whether they were made for commercial use. These items can help you determine the legal owner of the boat.