All entries filed under “Boating Safety Tips”

Red Tide Bloom 2018

Red Tide Status Report (August 3, 2018)

A bloom of the Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, persists in Southwest Florida.

In Southwest Florida over the past week, K. brevis was observed at background concentrations in two samples collected from Pinellas County, background concentrations in two samples collected from Manatee County, background to high concentrations in 24 samples collected from or offshore of Sarasota County, low to high concentrations in 10 samples collected from Charlotte County, background to high concentrations in 27 samples collected from or offshore of Lee County, and very low to high concentrations in nine samples collected from Collier County.

Additional samples collected throughout Florida over the past week did not contain K. brevis.

We continue to receive reports of fish kills in Southwest Florida. Over the past week, reports were received for two locations in Manatee County, and multiple locations in Sarasota County, in Charlotte County, in and offshore of Lee County, and in and offshore of Collier County. More detailed information is available at

Respiratory irritation was reported over the past week in Manatee County (8/3 at Coquina Beach), Sarasota County (7/28 and 8/1-8/2 at Lido Key; 7/26-7/28, and 7/31-8/3 at Manasota Beach; 7/26-8/3 at Nokomis; 7/26 and 7/30-8/2 at Siesta Key; 7/26-7/29 and 7/31-8/3 at Venice Beach; 7/26-8/3 at Venice North Jetty), Lee County (7/26-8/3 at Bonita Beach; 7/31-8/3 at Bowman’s Beach; 7/26-7/27, 7/30 and 8/1 at Captiva; 7/27-7/29, 8/1 and 8/3 at Causeway Islands; 7/26-8/3 at Gasparilla Island; 7/31 and 8/2 at Light House Beach; 7/26-7/27, 7/30-8/1 and 8/3 at Lovers Key State Park; 7/26-7/28, 7/30-7/31 and 8/2 at Lynn Hall Beach Park; 7/27 and 7/29-8/2 at Newton Park), and Collier County (7/26-8/2 at Barefoot Beach; 7/29-8/2 at Seagate Beach; 7/26, 7/28, and 8/2 at South Marco Beach; 8/2 at Vanderbilt Beach).

Forecasts by the USF-FWC Collaboration for Prediction of Red TidesExternal Website for Pinellas to northern Monroe counties predict net northwestern transport of surface waters and southeastern movement of subsurface waters for most areas over the next three days.

Additional information regarding the current status of algal blooms in South Florida is being consolidated and posted on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s website:

Red Tide Status Map (August 3, 2018)
Statewide Red Tide Counts July 26 through August 2, 2018
View a larger map Adobe PDF (PDF 276KB) (August 3, 2018)

Regional Status Reports and Maps (August 3, 2018)

Southwest coast report Adobe PDF (PDF 237KB) and map Adobe PDF (PDF 383KB) 
East coast report Adobe PDF (PDF 55KB) and map Adobe PDF (PDF 401KB) 
Northwest coast report Adobe PDF (PDF 48KB) and map Adobe PDF (PDF 464KB)

To see detailed information on this week's samples, view the current Statewide Google Earth map for August 3, 2018External Website. 

By using Google Earth, you can zoom in to specific locations and click on stations to see detailed information, including sample date and cell concentration. You must have Google Earth installed on your computer to view this map; the software can be downloaded from the Google Earth websiteExternal Website

The FWRI Red Tide Status Line is now available to callers throughout the state. FWRI updates the recording each Friday by 5 p.m. Red Tide Status Line: 866-300-9399 (toll-free inside Florida only); 727-552-2448 (outside Florida).

Reports are updated on Friday afternoon except during holidays, in which case the report will be released on the closest day. Additional information, if available, is provided on Wednesday afternoon. To receive an e-mail when the current status has been updated, visit our subscription area.

FWC's Red Tide Action Report

Red tide is a naturally-occurring microscopic alga that has been documented along Florida’s Gulf Coast since the 1840’s and occurs nearly every year. Blooms, or higher-than-normal concentrations, of the Florida red tide alga, Karenia brevis, frequently occur in the Gulf of Mexico. Red tide begins in the Gulf of Mexico 10 to 40 miles offshore and can be transported inshore by winds and currents.

FWC Actions and Partnerships:

  • FWC operates the toll-free fish kill hotline. To report fish kills, contact the FWC Fish Kill Hotline at 800-636-0511 or submit a report online. Reports from this hotline help FWC researchers track and better understand the impact of red tide in Florida.
  • FWC remains available to local agencies and partners in affected areas, including area business and tourism groups in southwest Florida. Any local agency or group that has any questions or concerns can contact Kelly Richmond from the FWC at 727-502-4784.
  • FWC continues to partner with the Florida Department of Health to advise residents and visitors of any potential health impacts. Residents and visitors can contact the DOH’s aquatic toxin experts at 850-245-4250 or contact their local health department for any concern about health safety.
  • FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and Mote Marine Laboratory work together to monitor Karenia brevis. This cooperative effort is designed to help mitigate the adverse impacts of red tide. This joint research program that includes red tide monitoring, research and public outreach and education has resulted in better tools and ongoing monitoring for red tides along the Gulf Coast.
  • In partnership with the FWC, the Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides (CPR) at the University of South Florida offer a new Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) tracking tool that generates a 3.5-day forecast of the bloom trajectories.
  • To protect public health, FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute’s Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) group closely monitors the status of K. brevis on Florida’s coasts, providing technical support to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACSExternal Website), the agency that regulates approved shellfish harvesting areas.  
  • Since 2000, FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute established a Red Tide Offshore Monitoring Program, which is a volunteer program for citizens to help collect water samples from routine collection points and sites reported for suspected harmful algal blooms (HABs).The timely sampling by volunteers allows researchers to provide an early warning of offshore algal blooms and investigate reported events as they occur. The Program needs volunteers to collect samples from all coastal Florida counties. To view more information visit, Red Tide Offshore Monitoring Program or use the Volunteer SignUp Form.

Red Tide Resources

Previous Regional Status Reports and Maps

July 27, 2018
Southwest coast report Adobe PDF (PDF 225KB) and map Adobe PDF (PDF 382KB) 
East coast report Adobe PDF (PDF 45KB) and map Adobe PDF (PDF 271KB) 
Northwest coast report Adobe PDF (PDF 55KB) and map Adobe PDF (PDF 463KB)
Google Earth mapExternal Website

July 20, 2018
Southwest coast report Adobe PDF (PDF 233KB) and map Adobe PDF (PDF 385KB) 
East coast report Adobe PDF (PDF 54KB) and map Adobe PDF (PDF 400KB) 
Northwest coast report Adobe PDF (PDF 38KB) and map Adobe PDF (PDF 464KB)
Google Earth mapExternal Website

July 13, 2018
Southwest coast report Adobe PDF (PDF 123KB) and map Adobe PDF (PDF 292KB) 
East coast report Adobe PDF (PDF 64KB) and map Adobe PDF (PDF 401KB) 
Northwest coast report Adobe PDF (PDF 45KB) and map Adobe PDF (PDF 347KB)
Google Earth mapExternal Website

July 6, 2018
Southwest coast report Adobe PDF (PDF 141KB) and map Adobe PDF (PDF 403KB) 
East coast report Adobe PDF (PDF 45KB) and map Adobe PDF (PDF 290KB) 
Northwest coast report Adobe PDF (PDF 42KB) and map Adobe PDF (PDF 479KB)
Google Earth mapExternal Website

Additional archived status maps can be found on FlickrExternal Website

Key for Results

DescriptionKarenia breviscells/literPossible Effects (K. brevis only)
NOT PRESENT - BACKGROUND background levels of 1,000 cells or less None anticipated
VERY LOW >1,000 to 10,000 Possible respiratory irritation; shellfish harvesting closures > 5,000 cells/L
LOW >10,000 to 100,000 Respiratory irritation, possible fish kills and bloom chlorophyll probably detected by satellites at upper limits
MEDIUM >100,000 to 1,000,000 Respiratory irritation and probable fish kills
HIGH >1,000,000

As above plus discoloration

Hotlines and Information Sources


Sarasota Boating - Tips on How to Stay Safe on the Water

staying safe with boat rentals.jpg

Sarasota Boating Tips: Staying Safe on the Water

Sailing and boating in Sarasota are fun hobbies, but being out on the open water can be dangerous. Swells and storms can sometimes pop up unexpectedly and if you fall overboard, you can drown. With many hazards, even when staying nearby, there are several important safety tips you should follow anytime while at sea.


Lifejackets may seem uncool and ruin your tan, but they are lifesavers. If you fall overboard while out at sea, even the strongest swimmer might need assistance. You could be knocked unconscious when you fall, or you might have to tread water for hours before a rescue. By simply wearing a lifejacket, you can save your life by having something to support you in the water, even if you are unconscious or are too tired to tread water. You should always have enough lifejackets on board for everyone.


Communication is the number one way to remain safe while on the water. There are several communication aspects that you must ensure to follow. First, be sure to communicate with others before you even leave. Inform people who are remaining on land of your plan in case something happens and you do not return. Those on board should keep an open communication, with one person in charge. Additionally, be sure to have a radio, cell phone, and flares handy in case of emergency.

Trip Report and Forecast

Sarasota boating trips should begin before you even leave the dock. Come up with a plan prior to departure, and file a trip report over your radio or fill out paperwork with the coastguard or to boat club officials beforehand. This will ensure that someone knows your plan and can be alerted if you do not return. Additionally, check all weather and marine forecasts before leaving. You will want to remain at home if there are any severe storm warnings. The most dangerous thing is being caught in the middle of a terrible storm.

Remain Aware

Although oftentimes when you are out on the open water it seems as if you are all alone, you still need to remain aware. Although you may not crash into another boat, there are many other obstacles that may surface. Reefs, shallow sandbanks, rough waters, and storms can crop up. You will want to ensure that you are at peak performance at all times. This means no alcohol or drugs, and if you are feeling sleepy or sick, you might want to remain at home. Being aware of your surroundings and able to tackle any emergency could save your life.

Safety Check

Before you leave the dock, you should always perform a safety check on your boat. Even if you just used it, there could always be something new that happens. Check for any leaks, ensure that the motor is working properly, and make sure you have a secondary source of motor power in case the first fails. Before you leave, make sure you everything is fully serviced. Additionally, always carry food, water, a first aid kit, communication tools, knives, flashlights, and other supplies in case of emergency.

Spending all day at sea on a boat is a luxurious way to spend a day. However, it is dangerous and you want to ensure that you return safely home, able to enjoy another day of Sarasota boating. We'll see you on the water!

Boating Safety Tips for Memorial Day

memorial day flagMemorial Day is just around the corner and boaters everywhere are preparing for a relaxing weekend with friends and family. With millions of people in Florida partaking in activities on the water this weekend, we want to remind you of a few boating safety tips that will ensure a fun and safe weekend for everybody.

5 Safety Tips for a Safe Memorial Day Weekend

1. Always Wear a Life Jacket. Life jackets aren't called "life jackets" for no reason. Always be sure to wear yours and make sure that all young children are equipped as well. We recommend life jackets that have been certified by the U.S. Coast Guard.

2. Have A Plan. It's best to know where you will be in relation to land and other important navigational landmarks, always being able to keep your sense of direction. Currents often cause boats to veer off course and can be troublesome if you're not properly prepared.

3. Forget the Alcohol. The majority of boat accidents are alcohol related, so leaving the cooler on land is not only a good idea, but a life saving opportunity as well. Always be responsible when drinking alcohol.

4. Tell People Where You're Going. Let friends and family know where you'll be planning on boating for the day and what time they should expect you back. They'll be able to call for help in the event of a break

5. Inspect the Boat Prior to Launch. Be sure to give your boat a thorough inspection to make sure that everything is in good working condition. Be sure to have an extra fuel supply on board and all necessary survival items such as signal flares and an inflatable life raft. Remember, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Keep these safety tips in mind and enjoy a fantastic Memorial Day weekend. We'll see you on the water!

Top 10 Boating Tips - What You Need To Know!

Top 10 Boating Tips from Wave's Boat and Social Club

boating safety tips for boating in Sarasota

The sun is shining, the weather is beautiful and the mood is perfect for a day out on the water with family and friends. However, before you depart to enjoy your boating trip, it's important to remember that safety should always come first.

At Wave's Boat and Social Club, boating safety is a top priority for us and we make sure all of our members have a firm understanding of the rules and regulations regarding boat safety and preparation.

Here's our list of the top 10 boating safety tips to ensure a safe and happy journey!

#1. Know the Weather

Always be sure to check the weather forecast prior to leaving the docks. In Sarasota especially, the weather can be quite unpredictable so it's extremely important to have knowledge of tides, currents, sunrise and sunset times and also any small craft advisory warnings.

#2. Have a Pre-Departure Checklist

Perhaps the most important boating tip, having a checklist of mandatory items before departing will help you be prepared for any situation on the water. Items to keep in mind include fuel levels, fire safety equipment, personal flotation devices, flashlights, batteries, emergency flares and of course, don't forget the sunscreen!

#3. Understand and Abide by Boating Safety and Navigational Rules

It's important to have a clear understanding of boating safety and navigational rules, including how boating instruments work, how to read boat speed and navigational signs and areas where boating is restricted. Failure to comply with boating laws could result in further penalties.

#4. Always Wear a Life Jacket

While they may not be the most fashionable items, wearing a suitable flotation device could mean the difference between surviving a boating accident or not. In fact, the majority of boating fatalities have been a result of people not wearing life jackets. Young children especially should have life jackets that fit properly, as well as adults.

#5. Don't Drink and Boat

Much like you wouldn't drink and then drive a car, boating and alcohol do not play well together. In 2009, 16% of all fatal boating accidents were a direct result of alcohol consumption. Be smart and leave the bottles on land. 

#6. Use Common Sense

Common sense is one of the most important boating tips that we can give you. Use your brain and understand that a boat is a big, heavy object and can cause damage just like any other vehicle. Be aware of "No Wake" zones and designated Manatee zones. Be sure to steer clear of large rocks and stay out of shallow waters where sea grass and rocks can be abundant. Use your better judgment when on the water!

#7. Have a Float Plan

From the suggestion of the U.S. Coast Guard, it's always important to have a float plan, advising family, friends or dock staff where you're planning to go boating, how long you'll be out for and when they should expect you back. Try to make this a habit before any boat trip. Not only will it give you peace of mind, but also allows for the proper officials to be notified if you don't return from your trip when expected.

#8. Learn to Swim

Being on the water, knowing how to swim should be no-brainer. Swimming is a vital skill not only for survival, but also in the event that you need to save someone who can't swim. Check out local organizations like the American Red Cross, who often have classes on proper swimming techniques for free.

#9. Have the Proper Documentation

Whether you're renting a boat through a boating club or you own a boat, being prepared with the right documentation is a must. Documentation can include ship papers, radio license, fishing permit, etc. which should be on board at all times.

#10. Familiarize Your Guests

Anyone who is planning on joining you for your boating adventure should be aware of the safety and emergency procedures, should a situation present itself. Before even leaving the dock, be sure that all guests understand what to do in an emergency situation and are able to operate the on-board communications, such as the radio and distress signals.

Boating is an exciting and fun activity for the entire family, but you always want to make sure that safety is at the forefront of your adventures on the open water. Follow the boating tips for safety above and you'll be sure to have a great time boating, with no worries at all. We'll see you on the water!

Don't Forget Your Fishing License

If you are going fishing remember you can get a license in seconds online:
However, you do NOT need a fishing license if:
  • You are a child under 16 years of age. (Also exempt from federal duck stamp requirements.)
  • You are a Florida resident age 65 or older possessing proof of age and residency or possessing a Resident Senior Citizen Hunting and Fishing Certificate. Residents age 65 or older may obtain, at no cost, complimentary hunting and fishing certificates from county tax collectors' offices.
  • You hunt or freshwater fish in your county of residence on your homestead or the homestead of your spouse or minor child, or if you are a minor child hunting or freshwater fishing on the homestead of your parent.
  • You are a Florida resident certified as totally and permanently disabled and you possess a Florida Resident Disabled Person Hunting and Fishing Certificate.
  • You are a resident who is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, you are not stationed in this state, and you are home on leave for 30 days or less, upon submission of orders.
  • You are observing or filming someone else who is fishing or hunting and you are not assisting in the take in any way. If you help or assist in the take, whether you actively fish or hunt or not, you must have a license.

Careful Tips for Boating Memorial Day

Memorial Day Weekend 2012 is almost here.  This marks the traditional beginning of the summer boating season in Sarasota & Bradenton, but it will also be one of the busiest weekends on the ICW.

Before boaters hit these waters, WBSC is reminding them to boat smart, boat safe and boat sober.

  • DO understand the water and environment you will be boating on.
  • DO keep a good lookout while underway - for jet skiis, and other boaters
  • DO shut your engines off when people are in the water near your boat.
  • DO observe the nautical “rules of the road.”
  • DO check the weather forecast before getting underway - we will post on the News Feed if there are any small craft advisories
  • DO keep a balanced load and a trim your motor in shallow wather.
  • DON’T overload your boat.
  • DON’T ride on any place that is not designed for sitting.
  • DO tell the dockmaster where you are going and when you will return.

Finally, the Marine Patrol continue to stress the importance of boating sober. According to the latest statistics from the United States Coast Guard, alcohol use remains the leading factor in fatal boating accidents, contributing to 19 percent of all 2010 boating fatalities. On a boat, there are many things that can impact an individual – sun, wind, noise, vibration, and motion – and when alcohol is added to the mix, balance, vision and coordination can be negatively impacted. In boating situations, alcohol and water simply do not mix.