4 Things to Know Before Sailing in South Florida
There’s nowhere better to hit the water than in South Florida where the subtropical climate and warm blue waters make for a true paradise. In fact, Fort Lauderdale is considered the yachting capital of the world thanks to its unique boat shows and 3,000+ hours of sunlight each year.
4 Tips to Help You Sail One of the Best Sailing Regions
The following tips will help sailing enthusiasts make the most of all the water has to offer.
#1. Operating a Boat in South Florida
First thing’s first, you must get permission to operate a boat in South Florida before making your sailing dreams a reality. If you were born prior to 1988, you do not need to maintain any kind of license. If you were born in 1988 or thereafter, you will need to complete a boating education course and secure a boating education ID. You’ll also need to carry your regular photo ID while operating any vessel that has 10 horsepower or more.
You can learn more about the boating education course here.
#2. Bring the Right Equipment Along
There are certain pieces of equipment you will need to successfully navigate South Florida’s waters.
The clothes – wear your most comfortable wet weather clothes to ensure the most fun possible on your adventures. Don’t forget to bring along a Personal Floatation Device that should be secured to your person or your boat.
Sunscreen is another important thing you don’t want to forget considering the heat index in Florida can reach up into the 100s. According to the American Cancer Society, look for a sunscreen that is “broad spectrum” and at least 30 SPF. Along with your skin, don’t forget to protect your eyes with a cool pair of shades.
Accessorize yourself with all of the right tools, like a compass so that you know your exact location at all times as well as the direction you are heading. In addition, bring a water proof watch so that you don’t lose track of time.
Having a solid rigging knife with a sharp blade and strong gripe will ensure you can cut through rope or sailing line. For added safety, bring navigational lights, a sound signal, and buoyant device.
#3. Know Where to Go
There are so many incredible sights to see when sailing in Florida. For one, there are 1,700 islands that make up the Florida Keys. As a result, it might be difficult to decide exactly where you want to go since there are so many good options. Some of the most popular sailing locations in South Florida include:
Located near the tip of the Florida Keys, Dry Tortugas is a popular spot for fishing. It also provides a chance to visit the famous Fort Richardson in Garden Key while taking in the beautiful reefs and shoals located on the serene island.
Perfectly placed at the center of Miami, Biscayne Bay is home to No Name and Boca Chita harbors. Plus, you’ll enjoy unmatched views of the downtown skyline. This is a popular place to go scuba diving and fishing as well.
Located 49 miles from Ft Lauderdale, this island is the closest US land base to the Caribbean islands. There is an abundance of sea life and warm clear waters, so make sure to bring your snorkeling gear.
#4. Stay Safe Out There
Before venturing too far out, make sure you have plenty of practice sailing in areas with light winds and minimal traffic. In addition, check the weather ahead of time so that you are prepared for what’s to come and don’t get caught in a storm.
Practice navigating a smaller boat before taking on a larger vessel. Make sure you know all the basic sailing terms such as starboard and port. You can take classes or purchase books and become a skilled master.