The food is delicious. A thriving culture. South Florida has everything, from beautiful beaches to some of the world’s most famous cruising destinations.

If you’re planning a vacation, you’ll probably spend a lot of time on the water. Now is the time to get ready for the upcoming sailing adventure! Take a look at the seven simple recommendations below for making the most of the South Florida boating scene.

1. Make sure to cover-up

Are you planning a trip to South Florida? Even in the dead of winter, when temperatures hover around 70 degrees or higher, you’ll want to be warm. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat with you so you can stay comfortable no matter what the day brings.

What’s the best part? South Florida style is all about embracing the sun and heat, so you’ll find plenty of stylish ways to do it. Lightweight, long-sleeved tops and leggings (think breezy linen) are ideal for enjoying warm days while keeping your skin protected from the sun above.

2. Plan for the Whole Day

Miami. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Beyond the Florida Keys. Because there are so many world-famous cruising destinations so close together, your basic day trip can evolve into something a little greater by the time lunch arrives. 

That’s perfectly OK! Plan for a full day (or two, or three…) on board to give yourself the freedom and flexibility to appreciate everything South Florida has to offer. That means bringing extra towels, dry clothes, and snacks for between waterfront pit stops. Make a timetable, but write it in pencil so that you may enjoy any unexpected excursions!

3. Look out for Wildlife

Wildlife that you won’t find in other states can be found in Florida’s seas. Manatees, for example, are popular in both freshwater and brackish environments, and can be found almost anyplace near the shore! 

Keep an eye out for speed signs and no-wake zones that indicate when it’s time to slow down. You not only make the waterways safer for everyone, but you also increase your chances of seeing gorgeous, awe-inspiring species in action. Slow down and take in the scenery when you get there.

4. Perfect your techniques for maneuvers in limited space

Florida is home to some of the best offshore adventures in the world, as well as some of the most popular thoroughfares, such as the Miami River and the Fort Lauderdale Intracoastal Waterway. Make sure you brush up on your tight-space handling techniques (especially if you’re used to lake cruises and other more spacious locales) to get the most out of both.

Precision docking (your co-captain can assist you here), as well as the etiquette of congested canals, are among these techniques. What’s the core concept? Allow yourself the time you need to make safe, attentive movements and allow your other boaters to do the same. In no time, you’ll be ready for high-traffic cruising.

5. A book should not be judged by its cover

Isn’t offshore fishing the only focus of the South Florida boating scene? 

Please reconsider! While offshore fishing and photographs of landing a picture-perfect marlin are famous, they are not the only ways to enjoy South Florida. Granted, the fishing environment is unrivaled, but there are other activities for every sort of boater and interest.

Stick to the Intracoastal Waterway or the Miami River and Biscayne Bay if you want to stay near to shore and enjoy the leisurely comforts of dock-and-dine cafés and crowded city marinas. Want to get into something a little more intimate and get near to the water? Kayaking enjoyment may be found from the Florida Everglades to the Florida Keys. Protected bays all around South Florida offer ideal conditions for water sports. Whatever your preferred method of boating, there’s something for you!

6. Get to know South-Florida-Style stormy weather

You’re all ready to go—fueled up, slathered in sunscreen, and loaded up with all your gear—only to see storm clouds looming over your favorite watering hole! What exactly do you do?

While wet weather may seem to throw a wrench in your plans, knowledgeable boaters know that most South Florida storms are fleeting and not indicative of the weather for the entire day. Stay off the lake during the thunder, lightning, or rough weather, but stay close to the marina while you wait it out, according to your local prediction. You might just notice that the storm cloud dissipates quickly, revealing a sunny sky!

7. Remember your life jacket

Life jackets may seem obvious to boaters, but in South Florida, you’re likely to spend so much time near the water (at cafes, parks, and waterfront retail areas) that you forget to put them on when you go on board! Make it a habit to wear your life jacket whenever you board your boat, and if necessary, put a reminder on your phone.