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Officials stress boating safety ahead of Memorial Day Weekend

Officials stress boating safety ahead of Memorial Day Weekend
Officials stress boating safety ahead of Memorial Day Weekend 02:19

MIAMI - Memorial Day Weekend is just a few days away and that means a lot of people are planning to hit the water

While there were no deaths last Memorial Day Weekend, there were more than 30 boating accidents. 

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 83 percent of operators involved in boating accidents in 2023 had no prior education.

CBS News Miami rode on the water with FWC ahead of Memorial Day. 

They urge you to find out what you need to know before, during and after you get on the water. 

The department is taking an all-hands-on-deck approach, checking not just the boats but also the captains. 

"Our officers are out on patrol. We're doing checks like you see behind us. We're looking for vessel registration numbers, safety equipment and of course sober operations," said Tyson Matthews, FWC Public Information Officer.

Tyson Matthews with FWC says you should plan ahead before the day even comes. Boaters should check the boat's equipment, like navigation lights.

"Double check your stern light, which is your anchor light. You're all around white light. Please make sure these are all operational before you get underway," said Matthews.

Another priority on the boating to-do list should be a safety plan for everyone on the boat. 

"Make sure you have life jackets for everyone, a sound-producing device, a horn or a whistle, flares and a fire extinguisher," said Matthews.

FWC law enforcement officers will be in full swing- ready to pull boaters over for a number of reasons, including speeding through a manatee zone, reckless driving and expired licenses. 

"So, if you're underway and see a vessel with its blue lights on please give them a wide berth. It's for your safety and ours," said Matthews.

But your boating day doesn't end there.

"If you find yourself coming back to the dock or the ramp when it's dark out, and you pull your vessel out of the water. Double-check your trailer lights and make sure they're on and operational. For obvious reasons. We don't want any accidents after having a safe journey out on the water," said Matthews.

The FWC wants to also remind people that boating safety measures also apply to personal watercrafts like jet skis.

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