Boat safely this holiday weekend
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525
As summer approaches, many residents and visitors are eager to get outside, and boaters are making plans to launch their vessels for a weekend outing.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) urges boaters to stay safe andfollow the rules to have agreat day on the water. The FWC and other federal and local agencies are participating in National Safe Boating Week activities, May 18-24, to promote safe boating practices.
“Enjoy the day, be safe and wear your life jacket,” said Capt. John Burton, area supervisor in the FWC’s Crystal River Field Office. “For the Memorial Day weekend, FWC officers will be out in force, working overtime on our heavily used waterways. Officers will be checking boating safety equipment, looking for careless and reckless operation, and targeting boat operators who are under the influenceof drugs or alcoholic beverages. Please make sure to have all the required safety equipment on your boat, and if alcoholic beverages are part of your outing, have a designated driver operating the boat,” Burton said.
In 2012 there were more than 700 boating accidents, and 55 people tragically lost their lives as a result. FWC officers do all they can to keep people safe, but there are also measures that boaters should take to protect themselves.
“The combination of paying attention to your surroundings and other vessel traffic, abiding by navigation rules and wearing life jackets while on the water could result in fewer injuries and deaths,” Burton said.
“We want everyone to have fun and enjoy their time on the water,” Burton said. “We also want everyone to make it home safe.”
For more boating safety information, visit MyFWC.com/Boating. To report people who are operating boats dangerously, call 888-404-FWCC or text Tip@MyFWC.com.