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Boat captains urging caution and courtesy as the waters get busier

A St. Augustine charter boat captain gave a presentation on how to be civil on the water with holidays and Summer around the corner.

Many boaters are out on the St. Johns River, the Intracoastal Waterway and the ocean. With big crowds come the potential for conflict.

One St. Augustine captain is urging people to be aware – and to be courteous.

Freedom Boat Club says they’ve had over 400 reservations booked through Memorial Day weekend.

“Whether here in the Marina or in the channel, at the sandbar, everyone’s here for the same reason, to get out on the boat, enjoy it and have a nice day,” a boater said.

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit launched from the marina to remind boaters to be safe while having a good time.

Captain Cullen Traverso, from High Tailin’ Charters in St. Augustine, recently gave a presentation on being civil in the water.

“With an increase of boaters each year we’re seeing a decline in civilty, I thought it was important to bring up ways to be aware of what we’re doing and help each other out on the water,” Traverso said. "Such as launching your boat efficiently, waiting your turn, and as when you’re on the road, watch your speed."

"Awareness of time, being timely on boat ramps and docks, be out of the way of everyone, and the other really big point is to slow down and give space," he said. "Not everyone’s a pro captain and is out there every day...and so if you see something or see danger presenting itself, you should give advice and help people out because you’re paying it forward."

Those tips and others are emphasized every day at Freedom Boat Club.

“The number one tip, we always say it, slow is pro. That’s when you’re in a marina, that’s when you’re in Fort George or rafting up, slow is pro, approach boats slowly,” Kloe Thompson of Freedom Boat Club said.

Boaters say those simple tips can save everyone time and stress.

“Sometimes you make mistakes, others make mistakes, but give the other guy a chance, no sense in having road rage on a boat,” one man said.

Freedom Boat Club says all of their members go through a safety training course with a U.S. Coast Guard certified captain before they hit the water.

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