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Boater safety a focus on the 4th

By Staff | Jul 3, 2009

You may have heard the term “wolf pack” associated with traffic enforcement efforts on roads, so this weekend local mariners may be referring to waterborne patrols as a “shark frenzy.”
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit will join other local, state and federal authorities patrolling Lee County waters with an emphasis on safety and Florida boating law compliance. Agencies participating in the operation will include the United States Coast Guard, Sanibel, Cape Coral and Fort Myers Police Departments, as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Examples of areas targeted during the 4th of July holiday weekend include:
* Franklin Locks
* Caloosahatchee River Bridges
* San Carlos Bay / Sanibel Causeway Islands
* Fort Myers Beach
* Estero Bay
* Bonita Beach
* Imperial River
* Pine Island Sound
Locations are selected based upon high concentration of boaters, incidents of crashes, and citizen complaints.
Vessel owners and operators are reminded to conduct their own safety inspections to include checking navigation / anchor lights, fire extinguishers and assuring the proper number of USCG approved lifejackets before disembarking.
The Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit is dedicated to promoting boating safety and enforcing the law on local waterways.
Safety inspections will be conducted and violators of wake and speed zones, careless operation, BUI will be cited or charged accordingly. It’s hoped by publicizing the upcoming operation boaters become more alert and will obey the laws.
Citizens can help by letting officials know if they observe aggressive or impaired boat operators and by their compliance with the rules of the water.
To get in touch with a marine deputy call (239) 477-1000. If you see reckless or drunk boat operators dial 9-1-1 or use VHF Channel 16.
Boaters are urged to remember to wear a personal flotation device and be courteous to one another.

Source: Lee CountySheriff’s Office