Officers patrol for drunk boaters

FWC, Volusia County Sheriff's deputies patrol waters on July 4th

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - It was a busy boat day in Volusia County on July 4th, and for officers patrolling the waters, drunk boaters were a huge concern.

Luis Mercado of Sanford was stopped twice -- first by Sheriff's deputies, and then by Florida Fish and Wildlife officers.

Both times, officers found no issues.

"I'm not drinking today. You know, they're drinking. I have enough responsibilities," he said.

Officers flooded the Disappearing Island area in Ponce Inlet, looking for drunk boaters.

"We've seen in the last couple years several bad fatality accidents, and we try to stop the boats before they get into that type of situation," said FWC Officer Clay McDonough.

Two years ago in the same inlet, two people were killed on Memorial Day weekend after a boat ran over the top of another boat.

"This is a major area where people come out and party," said McDonough.

Officers were also checking for life jackets and careless operators.

Mercado said he's extra cautious of irresponsible boaters when it's busy, and he doesn't mind being stopped by officers more than once.

"It makes me a safer driver," he said.

FWC officers planned on being out late Wednesday, navigating boaters safely back to land once firework displays are over.

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