Capt. Pete Rapps
With this hot summer air, and a tackle box full of lures, it is no wonder why you may be excited to hop onto the boat for a long day of fishing and relaxing. However, before you jump in, there are a few safety measures you should know about.
1. Follow and check off your pre-departure checklist
No one can perfectly remember everything they need to bring 10 minutes before heading out. That is why you should make a pre-departure checklist to check off before every boat ride. This list should include: life jackets, first aid kit, extra batteries, charged cellphone, water bottles, emergency contact numbers, VHF radio, healthy snacks, sunscreen, etc.
2. Assign an assistant ‘skipper’
If possible, you should make sure that a second person that can handle the boat and safety operations is on board. That way if the primary navigator is hurt, ill, or incapacitated in any way, you will have another person that can take over command.
3. Create a float plan
Whether it is a family member or one of the staff at your local marina, you should always have someone on dry land know what your float plan is. This float plan should include: where you are going, how long you are going to be gone for, and the name, address and phone number of the trip leader and possibly the other passengers.
4. Wear lifejackets
While this may feel a little uncomfortable and silly to wear, lifejackets are vital when it comes to keeping you from drowning. Make sure everyone on board has a lifejacket that fits them properly. Even if the adults on your trip refuse to wear them, do not let any child on board without their lifejacket secured to them.
5. Do not drink and boat
While there is nothing like having a cold beer out on the water, it would be better for you and your passengers to avoid drinking as much as possible. Studies have shown that the probability of being involved in a boating accident double when alcohol is involved. That aside, the hot sun combined with alcohol use increases your risk for dehydration.
6. Learn how to swim
If you are going to be hanging out in or around the water, you should know how to swim in it. Check local organizations, such as the American Red Cross, for some basic swimming lessons and training. If possible, encourage your other passengers to do the same.
Captain Rapps’ Charters & Guides offers expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Islands of the Everglades National Park, and Tarpon-only charters in the Florida Keys. Capt. Rapps’ top notch fleet accommodates men, women and children of all ages, experienced or not, and those with special needs. Between their vast knowledge and experience of thearea, and easygoing demeanors, you are guaranteed to have a great day. Book your charter 24/7 using the online booking calendar, and see Capt. Rapps’ first class website for booking info, videos, recipes, seasonings, and more at:www.CaptainRapps.com. Captain Pete Rapps can be reached at 239-571-1756.