FWC teams up with Coast Guard for National Safe Boating week

Officers to search for violations on water Memorial Day weekend

Officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are teaming up with the Coast Guard and local law enforcement to crackdown on boating safety.

As part of National Safe Boating week, FWC offered advice to boaters planning to head out on the water during Memorial Day weekend.

"What we're really trying to address is the careless and reckless operation of boats," said FWC Lieutenent Steve Vannortwick.

The FWC reminded boaters to take a few safety precautions, such as wearing a life jacket.

"They'll save your life.  If you end up in the water unprepared, you've got your safety equipment right there with you," said FWC Captain Tom Shipp.

A life jacket is one of several pieces of equipment required by law on board all boats.

FWC also recognized the importance of having a "float plan." It's something that can save precious time searching the water when a boat runs into trouble.

"Simply tell people some specifics as to where you're going, what you're going to be doing and when you're intending to be back," said Vannortwick.

Boating and drinking is also an issue officers are faced with. While open alcoholic containers are allowed on boats, drinking behind the wheel could land a boat operator in jail.

"If you're going to have passengers or people with you that are drinking, we strongly encourage a designated driver," said Vannortwick.

FWC said officers will search for violations on the water Memorial Day weekend. Offenders could be issued a citation or face arrest.

"We want people to come out and enjoy the waterways, but we want them to do so in a responsible manner," said Vannortwick.

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