With National Safe Boating Week and the release of the 2019 Boating Accident Statistical Report, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages boaters to focus on simple, effective steps that make boating safer. If you plan to enjoy our beautiful waterways, check out FWC.com/Boating for boating safety tips. Safety is never

optional.

“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,” said Maj. Rob Rowe, FWC’s Boating and Waterways section leader. “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.”

Among other boating safety tips found at MyFWC.com/Boating, 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, we suggest you check with the managing agency for any additional outdoor activity restrictions and to be sure your local area is open before you head out. 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,” said Rowe. “FWC law enforcement officers will be doing their part to ensure the safety of Florida’s recreational boaters.”

To report people who are boating dangerously, call 888-404-FWCC (3922) or text Tip@MyFWC.com. More information can be found by visiting MyFWC.com/Boating. You can even search there for the Florida Public Boat Ramp Finder to help you find a great place to launch your boat.

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 FWC staff is clear: Officers want to help keep Florida’s beautiful waterways a safe place to boat.

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