Small Vessel Operation Procedures
Individuals can either hire an FSUCML staff member to operate vessels for them by indicating this need on the reservation form (fees apply), or they can operate our small vessels themselves after meeting specific certification requirements, including the following:
- Vessel operators must be at least eighteen 18 years of age.
- Individuals must provide proof of completing a safe boating course offered by the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, the United States Power Squadron, or the North Florida Safety Council. For on-line courses, take a look at the BoatUS Foundation.
- Individuals must complete a small vessel "check-out" procedure with FSUCML Marine Operations Staff.
- All FSUCML boat operators are expected to be familiar with the FSUCML Scientific Boating Safety Manual
The vessel operator is responsible for safe vessel operation and compliance with all FSUCML, state, and federal policies related to SAFETY, RULES OF THE ROAD and EQUIPMENT ON BOARD. In emergencies, the vessel operator may deviate from these practices at his/her discretion, especially where safety for passengers and crew is a concern.
FSUCML vessel operators are required to have a crew onboard.
The vessel operator shall:
- Always have a crew onboard the vessel.
- Brief passengers before departure on the location and proper use of all safety and communication equipment.
- Determine special medical needs of any passengers before departure.
- Ensure that all non-swimming passengers wear personal flotation devices (PFD) at all times.
- All pontoon boat occupants must be seated while underway, where seats are provided.
- Report to the FSUCML Marine Operations Staff all accidents, damage, and malfunction of vessels IMMEDIATELY upon return to FSUCML.
- Collect waivers from each passenger before departure.
- Complete a Radio Check with FSUCML Marine Operations Staff while departing boat basin.
Vessel operators, crew, and passengers should remain in the vessel at all times while the motor is running. All diving from small vessels must adhere to diving safety rules. See the Academic Diving Program website.
Check out & Maintenance Responsibilities
Before Leaving the Dock:
- Fill out reservation online
- Fill out Float plan and submit to the Small Boat Technician
- Fill out liability waivers if applicable
- Make sure plugs are in Boat
- Double check fuel
- *Make sure lights are working
- *Make sure Spot light works
- Complete & sign Boat Condition Check List w/ Small Boat Technician
*night trips only
After Returning to the Dock:
- Properly put the boat back on Trailer
- Rinse engine
- Rinse Trailer
- Scrub boat with deck brush on inside and sponge on outside
- Report fuel use to the Small Boat Technician
- Review boat condition with Small Boat Technician
On-site use: Small vessels (inlcuding the pontoons boats and all vessels less than 20 ft) may be used in all protected areas of bays and inland of barrier islands and shoals or in river or lakes. These areas extend eastward from the Carrabelle River channel landward of Dog Island and Dog Island Reef to the mouth of and including Alligator Harbor.
Off-site use (no pontoon boats): All off-site use is subject to the approval of FSUCML Marine Operations Staff. Off-site use requires that the operator demonstrate proficiency in towing a trailer, backing a vessel down a ramp, and retrieving a vessel from the water. Float plans for off-site use must be submitted at least one week in advance of the trip. All off-site research locations must be reviewed and approved by FSUCML Marine Operations Staff before departure.
The Twin Vee and Calcutta can be used for offshore research. Their use requires that the vessel is operated by an FSUCML boat captain.