From the Board: Tragedy highlights importance of boating safety August 20, 2015

By Jim Naugle

All of us are heartbroken over the loss of the two young fishermen that disappeared in the Gulfstream off the Florida Coast near Jupiter Florida. Boating is such a big part of the lives of young people growing up in South Florida.

Friends and parents say that the two were experienced boaters at the young age of 14. I remember growing up on the New River at age 12. I had a 12’ aluminum boat with a 10 hp Mercury. My father would say, “Go wherever you want, except stay out of the ocean.” Of course, that was the first place we would go. Now my daughter is operating her boat offshore from Miami to Boca (as far as I know).

One thing that I would like to see is more use of life jackets by operators of vessels in the waterways. They make them so small and fashionable now that it is getting easier and more comfortable than wearing the bulky orange ones that we used in the past. No, I am not asking for a government mandate. But I wish we could figure out a way to get more boaters to put them on.

The best way to achieve that is for us as adults to put them on and lead by example.

Learn more about boating safety from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary (, Boat US (, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission ( and Best Boat Club (

Jim Naugle, former mayor of Fort Lauderdale, is the owner of Jim Naugle & Co., a real estate company specializing in marine property, and he serves as MIASF’s secretary/treasurer.

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Marine Industries Association of South Florida. 221 SW 3rd Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312. Phone: 954.524.2733