Water and beach activities are popular pastimes for Madeira Beach. As traffic increases, safety requires vigilance to prevent mishaps and even serious accidents. Careless navigation causes damage to property from excessive wakes. Some of the following are laws; others are suggestions.
Boating the Safe Way
Observe the posted “Idle Speed, No Wake” and “Slow Down, Minimum Wake” signs.
Do not operate your watercraft at more than 4 nautical miles per hour within 100 feet of people swimming or within 200 feet of beaches frequented by swimmers.
Do not water-ski or operate a boat towing skiers within 300 feet of the beaches.
Do not anchor your vessel within 50 feet of a private dock or seawall except in the case of an emergency.
If you see a boating accident or someone in the water who needs assistance, call the Coast Guard Marine Rescue in St. Petersburg at (727) 896-6187.
Florida Fish and Wildlife’s Boat Safety site has boating regulations and more safety tips. It also provides an online safety course. Visit their homepage for more information here.
To learn more about keeping your dogs safe when boating please click here.
Safety at the Beach
There are no lifeguards on duty at our beaches.
Heed the sign on South Beach near John’s Pass Bridge concerning the undertow.
Usually, during the summer months, stingrays come close to shore. Shuffle your feet when wading in shallow water to avoid stepping on one and getting a painful sting. If you get stung, seek medical attention right away.
Keep our beaches safe and litter free by using the beach trash cans.
Do not let a sunburn happen to you!
Do most of your sunbathing before 10:00 a.m. and after 2:00 p.m. Use a beach umbrella. Wear a hat and a long-sleeved shirt.
Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15+ on areas.
Drowning is one of the main causes of accidental death for American infants and children under the age of five. Only by increased awareness and effort can we reduce some very alarming statistics. Below are tips on how to help prevent such accident from occurring.
Drowning Prevention Tips:
There is no substitute for adequate supervision.
Pools and spas are attractive to children, and children must be kept away from them in the absence of adequate supervision. A fence, wall or natural/artificial barrier should completely enclose your pool or spa. All gates or doors with access to the pool or spa should have a spring lock, self-closing and self-latching mechanism that protects against unauthorized entry and use. The inside latch should be above the reach of toddlers or young children. Check with your state or local government to learn their specific legal requirements concerning fencing around pools and spas. You cannot be too cautious. If your pool, spa or hot tub is indoors, lock the door to the room or have a cover that locks, to keep out children and other unauthorized users.
Do not place objects, i.e. chairs or tables near the pool or spa fence that would allow a youngster to climb over. Tree limbs and low overhanging roofs should be removed or made inaccessible.
A float line stretched across a pool indicating where the deep end begins can avoid dangerous excursion by young children into water over their heads.
A clear view of the pool or spa from the house should be assured by removing vegetation and other obstacles. Trespassers or unexpected swimmers can be discovered by an occasional glance at the pool or spa area.
Reaching and throwing aids should be kept on both sides of the pool. These items should remain stationary and not be misplaced through play activities.
Pools or spas should never be used if any of the grate outlets are missing or broken.
It is important that you carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for safe installation, use, and maintenance of your pool or spa cover. Always completely remove the cover before using your pool or spa, this is to avoid the possibility of anyone, especially a small child, being trapped and drowning under the cover. Drain any standing water from the surface of your pool or spa cover. An infant or small child can drown even in the smallest amount of water. Be especially alert for the potential for drowning accidents if you use any of the lightweight, floating pool or spa covers. These floating covers are not solid and no one should crawl or walk on them. They are not for safety.
Never leave a child alone, out of eye contact, or without supervision in or near the pool or spa, not even for a second!
Young children should never be considered water safe despite their swimming skills, previous instruction or experience.
Access to the pool or spa should be limited by locked doors or gates whenever swimming or soaking cannot be supervised.
Teach your children good pool or spa safety habits: no running, pushing playmates, no jumping on others, no diving or jumping in shallow water or “dunking.”
Do not rely solely on plastic inner tubes, inflatable armbands or other toys to prevent accidents.
Keep toys, particularly tricycles or wheel toys, away from the pool or spa. A child playing with these could accidentally fall into the water.
Do not allow anyone of any age to swim without a “spotter” nearby/ Examples of good safety behavior by adults are important to young children.
During social gatherings, be certain that someone has the major responsibility for watching the children and swimmers at all times.
Do not permit playful screaming for help – false alarms – which might mask a real emergency.
Teach your children the most effective way to get out of the pool or spa quickly.
Do not allow your child to swim immediately after eating a heavy meal.
Do not allow swimming during thunder or other storms.
Do not allow glass in the pool or spa area.
Do not allow the use of drugs or alcohol by a person using the pool or spa, or in pool or spa area.
Prepare for a Pool Emergency
Poolside rescue equipment, including a ring buoy with an attached line and/or a long-handled hook, should be available to assist in removing victims from the water. This equipment should never be used for play.
Emergency procedures should be clearly written and posted in the pool area. In case of emergency:
Dial 911. It is advisable to install a telephone or use cordless/cell phone in the pool or spa area.
Give your name, location, and the telephone number you are calling from.
Tell what happened and how many people need help.
Don’t hang up the phone until after the emergency person does.
Adults in the family should be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). CPR is the combination of rescue breathing and artificial circulation for victims of respiratory or cardiac arrest as a result of drowning, heart attack or other causes. CPR training is available through our Fire Department as well as local chapters of the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association. Preventing an emergency is the best preparation: Never leave a child alone in or near a pool, spa or any other body of water! Take special precautions with young children who use spas. Spas are deep enough for children to drown in a matter of minutes. Also, children may become ill from overheating.
Only fire sprinklers can detect fire AND automatically control it – affording families the time to make a safe escape and protect valuables and property. Please join us in helping to save lives by supporting the installation of residential fire sprinklers in all American homes.
For more information on increasing the awareness of the benefits and availability of residential fire sprinkler systems, please visit the USFA website at www.usfa.dhs.gov and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition’s Website www.homefiresprinkler.org
Unsure of the disposal of old medications?
The FDA has created a website to provide guidance and information on the disposal of medications, to find out more click here.
Additionally, the site provides excellent information regarding food, cosmetics, medical devices, etc.
Is your home properly marked?
Our Fire Department’s mission is to provide you with quality customer service. Our goal is to get to you as soon as possible when you have an emergency. Having your house number properly marked and very visible from the street is essential. The City Code dictates the posting of numerals to be at least 3 inches in height. We recommend checking the numbering on your home as part of your family’s safety plan.
State laws define bicycles as moving vehicles subject to the same traffic regulations as automobiles, etc. As a bicyclist, you have the same rights and responsibilities as a motorist does.
Ride predictably, just as you would if you were operating a motor vehicle. Blending in with the normal traffic flow is the safest way to ride.
Ride on the right side of the roadway with the flow of traffic. Riding on the left or on the sidewalk significantly increases your chances for being involved in a crash, especially at intersections and driveways where motorists will not expect to see you. Besides, riding on the right is the law. (You may see people with smaller children riding on the sidewalk. If you are one of those persons, be considerate of pedestrians and remember that they have the right-of-way on these walkways.)
Obey all traffic signs and signals.
Always yield to overtaking traffic; then signal before turning or changing lanes. If a motorist slows to allow you the right-of-way as a courtesy, make eye contact with the driver and signal that you understand that the driver gave you the right-of-way.
Ride single file unless traffic allows you to ride two abreast. Do not ride two abreast on Gulf Boulevard.
Yield to other vehicles and pedestrians when traffic law requires that you do so.
Be highly visible. Wear light, bright-colored clothing in daylight. At dusk and when it is dark, use a bright white headlight and a red rear reflector. Lights at night are the law. To make yourself even more visible at night, use additional reflectors on your bicycle (e.g., pedal reflectors) and wear reflective material.
Look behind you before turning or changing lanes. If you use a mirror, look back too; you might miss an overtaking vehicle in your mirror.
Maintain your bicycle regularly so it is safe and dependable. If your bike is a rental, make sure it is in good riding condition before starting out.
Carry all cargo on a rack, in bike bags, or in panniers. A backpack may also be used for light loads, but make sure the straps are tight so that the bag does not flop around while riding. Do not hang packages off the handlebars or carry them in your lap.
Watch out for road hazards such as rocks, potholes, gravel, sand, sewer grates, and animals.
When crossing bridges, obey the posted instructions to walk your bike across the span. The bridge grating on the drawbridges can be slick when damp.