News Releases

Reminder: Boat smart, safely

News Release

Friday, May 17, 2013

Media contact: Katie Purcell, 850-459-6585

Memorial Day weekend, which kicks off summer activities, is right around the corner, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wants all boaters to remember to boat safely.

“Florida is a great place to enjoy boating year-round,” said Col. Calvin Adams, director of the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement. “And even more people will be out on the water for the holiday weekend. Both the holiday and National Safe Boating Week (May 18-24) present an opportunity to emphasize the importance of remaining safe while boating,” Adams noted.

Each year, FWC officers rescue around 1,000 people, many of them on the water. However, not everyone is so lucky. Ten people have already lost their lives this year due to boating accidents in Florida.

“FWC officers are committed to keeping people as safe as possible, but we need your help,” Adams said. “We want to reach out to as many boaters as we can to help them understand that most boating accidents are preventable.”

The FWC reminds boaters to enjoy their time on the water by taking a few safety precautions, such as remaining alert while operating a boat, wearing both a life jacket and engine shut-off switch at all times and designating a sober boat operator.

According to the FWC, inattentiveness of the operator often contributes to boating accidents.

Statistics also show that more than 67 percent of the 55 boating-related deaths confirmed last year were attributed to drowning, which life jackets are designed to prevent.

There is a wide variety of comfortable, affordable and stylish life jackets on the market today. The many options make it easy to be protected. Some compact designs even inflate upon hitting the water.

An engine shut-off switch is a safety lanyard that attaches from the boat operator to the ignition. If it is disconnected, the engine will shut down, potentially preventing a boater who has fallen overboard from being injured by the moving propeller of a runaway boat.

“Boating smart and safely could result in fewer injuries and deaths each year,” Adams said.

To report people who are operating boats dangerously, call 888-404-FWCC or text

More information can be found by visiting

FWC Facts:
Smalltooth sawfish double their length from 2.5 feet at birth to 5 feet by the end of their first year in Florida’s estuarine nurseries.

Learn More at AskFWC