FWC urges safe boating in light of National Boating Safety Week
With last week marking National Safe Boating Week and the release of the 2019 Boating Accident Statistical Report, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is encouraging boaters to focus on simple effective steps that make boating safer.
“National Boating Safety Week is May 16-22 and we want to spread the word about boating safety to those enjoying Florida’s year-round boating season,” Maj. Rob Rowe, FWC’s Boating and Waterways section leader, said in a prepared statement on May 19. “Reminding people to be safe and slow down is our top priority. Nothing can ruin a fun day and memorable experience on the water faster than a boating accident.”
Boaters are encouraged to wear their life jackets, maintain 360-degree awareness and know the dangers – and penalties – for operating a vessel while impaired. Also, as local governments and managers work to reopen areas across the state in response to COVID-19, the FWC suggests that boaters check with the managing agency for any additional outdoor activity restrictions and to be sure the local area is open before heading out. Also, practice social distancing guidelines outlined by the CDC and DOH.
“Life-changing tragedies often happen because individuals choose to operate a boat or drive a car while impaired. Those tragedies are preventable,” Rowe said. “FWC law enforcement officers will be doing their part to ensure the safety of Florida’s recreational boaters.”
The FWC is responsible for reviewing, analyzing and compiling boating accident data for the state. Its statistical report details boating accidents and their causes. The theme of accident-related messages from staff is clear: Officers want to help keep Florida’s beautiful waterways a safe place to boat.
For boating safety tips or more information, visit MyFWC.com/Boating.
To report people who are boating dangerously, call 888-404-FWCC (3922) or textTip@MyFWC.com.
For a copy of the 2019 Boating Accident Statistical Report, visit MyFWC.com/Boating and select “Safety & Education” and “Boating Accidents.”