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"Operation Dry Water" aims to increase boating safety over July 4th holiday weekend

Law enforcement agencies urge boaters to use caution during July 4th weekend
Law enforcement agencies urge boaters to use caution during July 4th weekend 02:19

MIAMI - Law enforcement officials have announced Operation Dry Water ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The safety operation will include a regulated navigational area on Key Biscayne on July 4th.

"From 7 p.m. on July 4th to 2 a.m. on July 5th all vessels within the regulated area are required to transit no more than 15 knots that will kind of limit the traffic and make everybody a little bit more safe," said Coast Guard Miami Beach Commanding Officer Eddie Oropeza.

Coast Guard Miami Beach, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and several partner agencies are working together on Operation Dry Water to increase safety on the water during the busy weekend.

"It's always very important to have two forms of communication. Make sure your cellphones are fully charged, but there's also the maritime radio Ch. 16, on that channel you can reach any agency if you have an emergency on the water," said Miami Fire Rescue Lt. Pete Sanchez.

If you're planning to charter a vessel, Coast Guard officials say you should make sure they are licensed.

"Make sure you challenge that operator, ask him if he has a Coast Guard credential to ensure that you're at least operating with a person who has been properly trained and qualified to take you out on the water," said Jesus Porrata, Chief of Investigations, Coast Guard Miami Beach.

Most importantly, all vessels must be equipped with the proper safety equipment. There should be life vests for each person on board, as well as throwable flotation devices, a fire extinguisher, flares, and a whistle or any other device that produces sound.

"That's the most important thing is safety so that everyone can go out enjoy themselves, have a good time but make it back home safely," said Sanchez.

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