SCAN is the NEW Watchword in Boating Safety

“SCAN” is the NEW Watchword in Boating Safety

The boating industry recently focused a lot of attention on boating safety as part of the annual National Safe Boating Week in mid May. As the busy summer boating season is upon us, Emerald Coast Marine wants to continue to do our part to help our customers and local boaters stay safe on the Emerald Coast!

We recently hosted our first women’s only boating class which was not only fun, but designed to help our ladies become more confident and safe at the helm. Congrats to all whom attended! We also host and promote a quarterly boating safety class in cooperation with the local US Power Squadron at the dealership. We love the fact that so many of our customers participate in these events and share our commitment to boating safety. We believe the more educated boaters become, the more they can fully enjoy the boating experience. Safe boaters are smart boaters … and smart boaters have more fun!

One of the industry’s leading advocates of boating safety is the BoatUS Foundation. They recently released a quick tip for boaters including strategies to actively prevent boating accidents. We felt this particular tip was especially relevant for our local market due to the amount of boating activity on our waterways and especially during key events and at local boating hotspots.


If you boat in an area where lots of boaters congregate, you need to understand the concept of SCAN … which stands for Search, Concentrate, Analyze and Negotiate.

Consider Crab Island, for example. On any given weekend, Crab Island is swarming with boats of every shape and size, jet skis, paddleboards and kayaks. We’ve all been there and seen hundreds of boats gathered in this popular hotbed of activity. While it is lots of fun to hang out in these spots, there is also plenty of opportunity for boating accidents in such a concentrated area.

Sometimes it is not a specific location, but a major event that brings the boating community together. Like the Billy Bowlegs party, or the Blue Angels show. Here we see a huge gathering of boaters and plenty of opportunity for FUN … and potential mishaps.

By practicing and learning to SCAN, you can minimize the chance for an accident and keep your family and friends safe during boating activity.


The S stands for SEARCH the area all around your craft. This is a 360-degree examination of everything on the water around your boat. Distances away will close or open depending on your speed or the speed of the observed boat or object. The faster you’re operating, the farther out you’ll need to search.

The C stands for CONCENTRATE on what you’re seeing. Is it a boat? What type? What is it doing? What is its relative speed? Is it a stationary object? Drifting or anchored? Things can happen fast out there, so these are questions you must consider while you look at the various observed boats or objects.

The A stands for ANALYZE what you’re watching. Is it closing in on your position or going away from you? Remember, if the object you’re observing is at a constant bearing with decreasing range (meaning you’re getting closer to it, and its relative position to you is not changing), it is on a collision course. If it’s another boater, do you believe he or she sees you? Never assume you’re seen by other boat operators, who may or may not be distracted. Determine this by the way and direction they’re operating. Analyze how far away the boat or object is and how fast it is closing the distance between you and it.

And the N stands for Negotiate. What are you going to do? Slow down, turn away from the boat or object, and head in a different direction? Remember the Navigation Rules. Learn the proper action to take while meeting head on, crossing, or overtaking another boat.

It’s easy to become distracted and more important than ever to be safe at all times, but especially when there are large boating crowds sharing the same waterway. We highly encourage our customers and friends to put the SCAN strategy to work on your future boating activities.

Be safe … we hope to see you on the water soon!

For more information on BoatUS and the SCAN Technique, visit