The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wants to remind residents and visitors to boat safely this Mother’s Day weekend.
With Mother’s Day weekend quickly approaching, we urge boaters to boat safely. Take a few minutes to make sure you have the necessary safety equipment on your vessels before leaving the boat ramp and take extra safety precautions while out on the water. We have a few simple safety tips to share that will help you stay safe on the water while you enjoy this celebratory weekend.
• Wear your life jacket – Personal flotation devices (or PFDs) now come in a variety of comfortable options tailored to every type of recreational activity on the water. In the event of a boating emergency, a life jacket is a very simple safety item that could save your life.
• Designate a sober operator – Come up with a game plan before you leave the boat ramp to designate a sober operator so you make it to your destination and back home safely. Boating under the influence never pays off and is one of the fastest ways to ruin your weekend. The FWC and partner agencies will be on the lookout for impaired operators, and boating under the influence can lead to arrest. Not only is it illegal but it is dangerous to you, your passengers and other boaters.
• Maintain awareness at all times – It’s crucial to maintain 360-degree awareness at all times while boating. Many boating accidents can be avoided by simply paying attention to other boaters and fixed objects around you.
• File a float plan – This simple document can be filled out in a matter of minutes while you are preparing for your next outing. Your float plan can be left with someone you can depend on to notify the FWC or another rescue organization in case you do not return as scheduled. It provides law enforcement with valuable information that could lead to your safe rescue in the event of an emergency. For a copy of the FWC float plan document, visit MyFWC.com/boating, click on “Boating Safety and Education” then “Float Plan.”
“Southwest Florida has a variety of boating opportunities,” said FWC Southwest Regional Director, Tom Graef. “We hope everyone enjoys their time on the water this Mother’s Day weekend with boating safety in mind.”
“Boating safety is a top priority for the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement,” said FWC Southwest Region Commander, Maj. Roger Young. “It takes just a few minutes to make sure you have the necessary boating safety equipment and information, but it could save your life.”
For more information about boating, including regulations and boating safety tips, visit MyFWC.com/boating.