Boats are a great way to enjoy the ocean and fantastic views of the coastline. On any given day in Southern California, thousands of boats sail, motor, and cruise along the coast just off shore. Boaters must be aware of the local regulations as well as the universal rules and fundamentals of safe boating. When these safety guidelines are ignored either purposefully or unknowingly, boats can become extremely hazardous and cause injury or death.

It is important to educate yourself properly before venturing out to sea on any kind of vessel. Whether sailing, powering, or riding a personal watercraft, you must understand how to properly maintain and operate it, as well as be familiar with the waters you are traveling through. Submerged reefs, large swells, strong winds, and other vessels all present significant hazards. Many beaches and harbors have areas where boats are prohibited to operate such as swim areas, shoal areas, or no boating zones off beaches where swimmers and surfers frequent. Violating these regulations or being unaware of local hazards can result in hefty fines or serious injury.

Each year, lifeguards rescue hundreds of boats from entering the surf line when they become disabled too close to shore. Although in many areas, boating laws allow boaters to come in close to shore, provided there are no swimmers near by and speed is kept under five miles per hour, it is recommended that boaters keep a minimum distance of 1000 feet outside the surf line. This will prevent the hazardous situation of being caught inside the surf line where there are breaking waves and allow more time to be rescued in case of breakdown