Welcome aboard the Escambia County Marine Resources Division's Boating Information web page. This web page is intended to provide safety information for participants in the myriad of water-related activities available to the residents and visitors of Escambia County.
Northwest Florida is blessed with thousands of square miles of waterways, from the Gulf of Mexico to the dozens of local bays, bayous, creeks and rivers. The range of possible water-related activities is equally vast, from offshore cruising, fishing and SCUBA diving, to water skiing, kayaking, canoeing and swimming. When these activities are performed safely, they are wonderful sources of recreation and relaxation.
As the old saying goes: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Sometimes, unfortunately, there is no cure.
The proper attitude starts with the understanding that accidents can happen, often with little or no warning. Acknowledgement of this fact makes one more likely to acquire the knowledge, training and equipment necessary for the water-related activity of interest. Furthermore, paying attention to weather and water conditions, equipment and other people, may allow for early detection and avoidance of danger.
Obviously space is limited here but it may help to think about safety in the following categories:
- Prevention - attitude, knowledge, training, equipment, attention
- Equipment - for accident prevention as well as accident response (Ex.: First Aid Kit)
- Collision - safe speed, lookout/visibility, "Rules of the Road"
- Fire/explosion - fueling considerations, vapor detector, fire extinguisher
- Person(s) in the water - "man overboard," swimming, SCUBA diving, flags or signs
- Weather/sea conditions - weather forecasts & warnings, natural signs
- Medical emergency - CPR/1st Aid training & equipment transport
- Engine/equipment failure - spare parts & tools, communication
- Environment - fuel spill, MSD/vessel pump-outs, marine debris
- Communication - VHF radio, cellular telephone, EPIRB, flares, horn, whistle
Some of the best ways to increase safety are to join an organization and take advantage of training opportunities related to your specific area of interest.
The information found here will be useful to "old salts" as well as individuals considering new aquatic activities. In addition, there are numerous references to other sources of information.
Capt. Robert Turpin