Boating Safety for Florida

It may come as no surprise that there are more boaters on state waterways than ever before.

What you may not know, is close to one million boats crowd state waterways, creating a greater risk for accidents.

Staying safe on the water is as simple as using a little common sense and lying off the alcohol. There's nothing quite like

A day on the water. Soaking up the sun and maybe throwing a line to catch that prize fish. All this leisure can mask a sobering reality, boating can be dangerous, even deadly. Longtime boaters say a few safety precautions go a long way.

As Florida grows so does the number of boats on state waters. More than 900,000 boats were registered in Florida in 2002, an all time high. But that same year, there were also 1,200 accidents that resulted in 52 fatalities. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission alcohol was the leading factor in these deaths.

Law enforcement's best tool to catch impaired boaters is a mobile operations bus. It greatly cuts down the amount of time it takes to process an intoxicated operator. When it comes to safety, almost just as important as foregoing the alcohol is wearing a life vest. And a new generation of vests makes that easier than ever.

By calling 1-888-404-FWCC you can report an impaired boater and possibly receive a $250 reward.