Patrolling the waters: FWC promotes safe boating ahead of Memorial Day weekend

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 6:54 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer, and the FWC is anticipating an increase in boats out in the water. But, it’s important to remember that a beautiful day on the river can easily take a turn for the worse.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is patrolling the rivers and coastlines around Florida. Officers assist boats in distress and check that those headed out for a day on the water have the necessary equipment.

“Vessel inspections will start with basic questions for your boating safety equipment, life jackets, a fire extinguisher, flares if applicable, a sound-producing device like an air horn or a boat whistle, for example. Proper registration and a type four throw cushion,” said Robert Ramos, Public Information Officer with the FWC.

Officers said life jackets are especially crucial during boating disasters

“Most of the people in our boating accidents who ended up in a fatality were not wearing a life jacket. You know, the vast majority of the time. So we want people to wear their life jackets because we know that they save lives,” added Ramos.

Watching the forecast while out on the water is another good idea. Afternoon thunderstorms and quickly turn a calm morning into a treacherous day on the coast.

Ramos says it’s also important to store gear where it’s easily accessible. Having supplies on board but out of reach can quickly become disastrous if you need them in a pinch.

In addition, boaters are required to take FWC’s free, online boating safety course, which includes safety and navigation guidelines.

For the online safety course provided by the FWC along with other online courses, click here.

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