The Southwest Florida beaches continue to reopen after being devastated by Hurricane Ian. There’s been good crowds at Fort Myers Beach. Bonita Beach and Barefoot Beach have also found a way to reopen. With Lee and Collier County schools wrapping up for the year, a day out on the coast with the kids should be in order. It’s important to keep an eye on your kids as they wade out from the beach into the gulf for some fun, but did you know there’s one very simple thing you can do to help?

Some swim tips provided by Life Time, Inc. included one very simple overlooked idea.

Wear Bright Swimsuits

Studies find that neon and bright-colored bathing suits are the safest and easiest to spot in the water. Pale and blue colors disappear and blend underwater.

So maybe before you head out into the gulf, be it for beach time or boating, a new suit may be in order. Stop by Winds and get your kids something bright. This way if they wade out too far they’ll be easier to spot.

The other tips on the Life Time list:

  1. Follow the 25:10 Rule – If a child can’t swim 25 meters (the length of most pools) without stopping, a parent must always be within 10 feet of their child. Preferably, in the water with them.
  2. Sign up for Swim Lessons – The earlier you start your children in swim lessons, the better. The younger children are when they start swimming, the more likely they’ll excel and become confident in the water.
  3. Maintain a Maximum 1:3 Ratio of Guardians to Swimmers – Being able to observe and keep constant contact with all swimmers is key to safety. An adult should monitor no more than three swimmers at one time.
  4. Get CPR Certified – This skill can save a life in an emergency.
  5. Take Breaks Every Two Hours – Take this time to rest, rehydrate and reapply sunscreen before returning to the water for more fun.
  6. Not all Floatation Devices are Created Equal – There are many floatation devices that won’t adequately protect kids in the water. It’s important they wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Additionally, avoid air-filled floaties. If they pop, they may fill with water and drag children down.


These Hurricane Supplies Are Tax Free This Week

Hurricane season begins on Thursday, June 1st. It is a phrase that could be considered a “dirty word” for Southwest Floridians. Especially when considering we are still recovering from last years deadly blow by Hurricane Ian. Regardless, time does not stand still and the season is here again. We are helping you get prepared. These hurricane supplies are tax free this week in the Sunshine State thanks to Florida lawmakers.

Legislators passed two Disaster Preparedness sales tax holidays giving Floridians a break when stocking up on some basic supplies. The first tax free holiday kicked off over Memorial Day Weekend and extends through June 9th. The list of items that are tax free right now is pretty extensive and may include things you don’t typically think about when it comes to hurricane supplies.

What is tax free this week

I love that lawmakers not only consider things you might need for your personal safety during and immediately following a storm like flashlights and tarps. In addition, they consider things you might need if you are forced to evacuate with a beloved pet. You can’t exactly go on a crazy shopping spree as there are limits on spending in each category. However, you CAN be strategic and shop a little each day to get the maximum in sales tax savings. If you have questions about what is exempt or if for some reason a store did not honor a tax free purchase, click here to get more info.

In addition, you can click here for a complete list of all sales tax holidays in Florida. A second, similar tax free holiday for hurricane supplies happens later in the season, August 26th, just before activity tends to ramp up. In the meantime, here are a few items to stock up on. These hurricane supplies are tax free this week, through Friday, June 9th.

  • Generators

    Generators can be life savers, literally, in the days and weeks following a major storm. They help preserve food if the power goes out, help supply oxygen and other vital services. The sales tax is waved on generators costing up to $3000. Over that, you’ll need to pay
    Stack of Generators for hurricane supplies

  • Lighting

    This covers lighting as far as flashlights, lanterns and candles. These light sources can be powered by solar, by battery or gas and must be $40 and under to qualify.
    Flashlights in stock for hurricane supplies

  • Batteries And Power Packs

    When power goes out, batteries are essential for flashlights, radios and more. The sales tax is waved on AA-cell, AAA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6- volt, or 9-volt batteries, excluding automobile and boat batteries, with a sales price of $50 or less. It’s a good time to grab a power pack or power bank at $60 or less.
    Stack of batteries for Hurricane Supplies

  • Radios

    Radios were crucial for communication and information following Hurricane Ian. Tax is waved on portable radios, two-way radios and weather-band radios. This does not mean you get to buy a new sound system tax free. Limits are $50 or less.
    Radio dial for hurricane supplies

  • Household Supplies

    A bucket of cleaning supplies for Hurricane suppliesOne of the things we learned from Hurricane Ian is the need for a few basic supplies such as bleach and laundry detergents. Also included in this section are items such as paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags, soap, disinfectant, sanitizer, and sunscreen.

  • Tarps And Kits

    Tarps and similar waterproof sheeting is included. The price cap for these items is $100. In addition, sales tax is waved on items typically sold with tarps such as ground anchor or tie-down kits costing $100 or less.
    Roofers putting on blue tarps after hurricane

  • Food Storage

    This includes coolers that are $60 and under as well as those reusable ice packs that come in at $20 or less.
    man filling a cooler with ice for hurricane supplies

  • Pet Supplies

    Dog in kennel for Hurricane SuppliesThis includes items you might need when evacuating with a pet. The list includes such thing as portable kennels or pet carries ($100 or less), pet beds ($40 or less), pet medications ($100 or less). In addition, you’ll be able to purchase items such as leashes, collars, waste disposal bags, food and more, all with price caps.

  • Home Safety Items

    This list includes items such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors all costing $70 or less. House fires are common after the power gets reconnected.

Joe Winner spends his days combing through memes and off beat stories to bring you the side of Florida not always seen.

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