Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers had one main objective over Memorial Day weekend: to keep boaters safe. Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer and is one of the biggest boating holidays of the year. Partnering with other law enforcement agencies, FWC officers were proactive in getting boating safety messaging out to the public before the weekend and were on the lookout for reckless or impaired vessel operators.
Between May 27-29, FWC officers removed approximately 100 unsafe and impaired vessel operators across the state of Florida for boating under the influence and responded to over 30 boating accidents. There were zero fatalities reported during this time.
“I credit the visibility and the hard work of our officers and partner agencies educating the public, removing impaired boaters from behind the wheel and responding quickly to accidents. Nothing would make me happier than to report the number zero every year,” said Lt. Col. Brian Smith, Acting Director of the FWC Division of Law Enforcement. “Florida is considered the boating and fishing capital of the world for good reason. Operating a vessel while impaired not only puts yourself and everyone on board in danger but also everyone else around you trying to enjoy a great weekend on the water.”
FWC officers were laser-focused on boating safety enforcement over the busy holiday weekend. Statewide, officers issued more than 4,000 warnings and nearly 900 citations for boating violations. They responded to more than 40 emergency calls for assistance and search and rescue.
The FWC reminds all boaters to enjoy time with friends and family but do so safely and don’t forget to designate a sober operator before departing from the dock.
For more information about boating safety, visit MyFWC.com/Boating and select “Boater Education” then “Boating Safety.”
To report dangerous boating activity the public can submit anonymous tips by texting Tip411 (847411) with the keyword “FWC” followed by the location and any information about the violation or call 888-404-FWCC (3922). Additionally, there is an easy-to-use downloadable iPhone or Android app: “FWC Wildlife Alert.”