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Know before you go: free boater safety classes offered in Wakulla County

Posted at 6:29 PM, Feb 05, 2024

  • Florida Fish and Wildlife last reported there were 735 boating accidents. Since 2003 the leading cause of deaths were falls overboard.
  • Some say courses like boater's safety could help prevent accidents
  • Watch the video to find out how one female captain is teaching other women what they should know before heading out to on the water

Braodacast Transcript:

"The reason I became a charter Captain was to empower women and make them self-sufficient on the water.“

Captain Stacy Horack has been a Captain for 8 years. She wanted to help more women get involved with an activity she loves, driving a boat.

“This area is getting inundated on the weekend with boaters and not everybody is a safe boater, If you’re out on a boat you have no idea what the person driving that boat is going to do so you need to be prepared to be able to take that boat over and get home because it is busy here.”

Florida Fish and Wildlife last reported there were 735 boating accidents. Since 2003 the leading cause of deaths were falls overboard.

I spoke to FWC’s Boating Safety Education Outreach Coordinator, Brian Rewinkel who believes boaters safety classes could help prevent serious accidents.

“By training learning some of those things the mistake that we make may be a very minor mistake, but when we don’t know what we’re doing, then the mistake could be something that leads to a much more significant negative outcome. So I do think that it could reduce accidents but more importantly, I think it can reduce serious accidents.”

A bill introduced September of last year would require boaters in Florida to take a boater’s safety course before taking a boat out on the water.

If it passes, the requirement is said to start being enforced on July 1st this year.

Currently, anyone born after 1988 is required to take a boating course.

Captain Stacy and Rewinkel both want everyone to get the knowledge they need to practice a fun and safe boating experience in the water.

"I want them to see that they can do it."

Captain Stacy is offering classes during the weekends. Contact 352-553-3604.