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FWC patrols and protects Florida’s waterways over Labor Day weekend

Media contact: Ashlee Sklute, Release Date: 09-08-2023   All Articles Tags:

The main objective when Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers are on water patrol is to keep boaters safe. Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer and Florida residents and visitors traditionally take the opportunity to enjoy the water before the season begins to change. This year the popular boating weekend fell just days after a major hurricane made landfall in Florida. While many FWC officers deployed to assist residents in areas hardest hit by Hurricane Idalia, other officers were out in full force looking out for reckless or impaired vessel operators and other dangerous boating violations.

Between Sept. 2-4, FWC officers removed nearly 20 unsafe and impaired vessel operators from the waterways of Florida for boating under the influence, cited over 380 and provided education and warnings to over 2,800 boaters for safety violations. There were zero boating accident fatalities reported over the holiday weekend.

“These past two weeks are a testament to the versatility and dedication of our officers,” said Col. Brian Smith, FWC Law Enforcement Division Director. “At the same time, we had officers conducting welfare checks in high-water vehicles and shallow draft vessels in communities in the Big Bend, other officers were filling their shoes back home, keeping boaters enjoying the holiday weekend safe. I have no doubt that their actions helped prevent tragic accidents from occurring over the holiday weekend,”

The FWC reminds all boaters to enjoy time with friends and family but do so safely and don’t forget to designate a sober operator before departing from the dock.

For more information about boating safety, visit and select “Boater Education” then “Boating Safety.”

To report dangerous boating activity the public can submit anonymous tips by texting 847411 (Tip411) with the keyword “FWC” followed by the location and any information about the violation or call 888-404-FWCC (3922). Additionally, there is an easy-to-use downloadable iPhone or Android app: “FWC Wildlife Alert.”