Jupiter students practice safe boating for the summer

Boating is a popular pastime in Jupiter, Fla. given the close proximity to the ocean. For students who plan on going boating this summer break, starting on May 27, it is important to know the laws and how to stay safe while having a fun time on the water. 

“I like going out on the boat because it’s fun,” Emma Kruse, sophomore, said. “I get to hang out with my friends and we’ll look for starfish or go in the mangroves, see if we can see anything.”

In order to have fun while boating, understanding the regulations and rules for boats in Jupiter is vital. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission states “anyone who operates a vessel with willful disregard for the safety of persons or property will be cited for reckless operation (a first-degree misdemeanor).” 

“I’ve seen a lot of people going faster in a no wake zone,” Carter Gurdak, junior said. 

Signs posted detailing allowed speed should be followed by boaters. Boat operators must carry safety equipment required by the U.S. Coast Guard such as a personal flotation device for each passenger, a throwable flotation device, and seeable navigation lights between times of low visibility. Also, boats with built-in tanks or enclosed compartments for gasoline are required to carry a fire extinguisher. 

“I do think laws are important,” Hannah Lucas, sophomore, said, “because then everybody has a set of rules to follow.”

In order to understand these laws, a boater safety course is recommended and students should also make sure, if they are operating a boat this summer, they have a boaters license. Fla. law requires all people born after Jan. 1, 1988 to complete a boater’s safety course which discusses the laws and the proper operation of water vehicles.

“It was really helpful,” Kruse said. “It helped me learn a lot of new things on the water that I didn’t know and helped me learn some new rules.” 

While boating this summer, students should also remember to apply sunscreen every two hours in order to prevent sunburns and reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. 

“I try to wear it but sometimes I’ll put it on and I’ll forget to reapply, so I have to get better,” Lucas said. 

When driving a boat, it is also important to look around and be aware, especially in areas where traffic is high. By staying alert, boaters are better able to react. By doing this, both the captain and passengers can stay safe while enjoying the water.  

“Just watch your surroundings, if you’re in a new spot just go slow and look around and just watch all around you for other boaters coming from different directions,” Gurdak said.