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With COVID-19, government orders have closed all beaches in Southwest Florida. While we fully support this decision to help keep our community safe and protected, we know many are missing being able to watch the Florida sunsets on the beach.

Luckily for boat owners, you can take your boat out for a late evening cruise and still safely enjoy watching the sunset on the water while still practicing social distancing. For those who were frequent sunset beachgoers and are now opting to take a sunset cruise, we have a few tips and tricks to make sure your in for smooth sailing.

Be Prepared

If you’re used to boating during the day and are now venturing out in the later hours, there’s a few things to sure that you have on board before you depart to make sure your going to be safe out on the water.

  • Get a handheld spotlight – to help you navigate in the dark, you can get a handheld spotlight to see exactly what’s in the water around your boat and identify navigation hazards. Look for ones built for use that are water-resistant and have a comfortable grip.
  • Navigation/Anchor Lights – Make sure to test your Navigation and Anchor Light before departing. This is important so other boaters can spot you on the water and avoid collisions.
  • Check your chart plotter – it’s important to make sure your chart plotter has up-to-date information so you know where you’re going as you navigate the water and don’t run into any surprises once things get dark and you have limited visibility.
  • Get a VHF radio – a VHF radio is a great way for you to communicate while in the water when your out of range of cell service. Make sure you have one on hand so you can call for help in case of an emergency.
  • Update emergency equipment – you should always make sure all your emergency equipment is up to date, but it’s especially important when navigating through the waters at night. Make sure you have your safety bag onboard for the amount of people your bringing and check the dates on flares (they do expire).

Boat Safely

Once you have your boat stocked with all the proper equipment, you’re ready to go! We have a few extra tips to help you navigate and stay safe once you’re out on the water.

  • Depart early – The sun is going down close to 8 PM at this time, but we recommend setting out early and getting out on the water prior to the sunset so you can get the best view and be ready to head back to the dock once darkness starts setting in.
  • Drive slowly – when heading back and it starts to get dark, you may be inclined to rush once it starts getting late. However, it’s better to take your time and stick to a slower pace to be safe once it gets into the night hours.
  • Listen to your surroundings – once things get dark, it’s a good idea to utilize your extra senses to be ultra-careful as you move through the water at night. Turn off your stereo so you can hear the engines of other approaching boats and anything else coming your way in the water.
  • Check your Chartplotter on the way out and verify the markers in daylight so you can navigate the same track on the way back.

Get Help from Your Local Boat Dealer in Fort Myers & Naples

We are open for sales and service to help you enjoy your time out on the water.

Our sales office has limited office access to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, so please call ahead to schedule a private viewing. Our service department is fully operating by appointment only.

To schedule an appointment or for any other questions, please give us a call at (239) 463-4448.