TAMPA, Fla. — Be careful out on the water this Labor Day weekend!
The busy time of year is prompting Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials to remind boaters to be cautious and practice safe boating
People are advised to not drive boats while drinking alcohol due to the possibility of losing the ability to make sound judgments, officials said in a press release.
Passengers' response to an emergency can also be affected by the consumption of alcohol.
"Labor Day is dedicated to the contributions and accomplishments of American workers, and we want boaters to safely enjoy this special day," FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section Leader Maj. Rob Beaton said in the press release.
"You can enjoy a holiday weekend safely on the water by wearing a life jacket, filing a float plan, taking a boating safety course and never operating any boat or other watercraft while under the influence."
Here are some recommendations from the FWC on safe boating practices:
- Never boat under the influence. Have a designated sober operator.
- Always wear a life jacket aboard a vessel.
- Have a float plan. Let family and friends know where you are going and when you will return. The sooner rescuers can get on the water and to the location of an overdue boater, the more likely the outcome will be positive.
- Purchase, register and have on board the boat an emergency locator beacon. This could be an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). These devices can be used by any boater to ensure search-and-rescue teams find you quickly in the event of an emergency.
- Take a boating safety course. According to FWC boating accident statistics, 69% of operators involved in fatal boating accidents in 2020 had no formal boater education.
- Watch the weather. The National Weather Service broadcasts marine weather forecasts regularly by radio or check the NWS website at noaa.gov.
You can report people who are operating boats dangerously by calling 888-404-3922 or texting Tip@MyFWC.com.
For more information, you can visit the FWC website.