FWC patrols Charlotte Harbor amid July 4th celebrations

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is out in full force today, patrolling the waters on what they call the busiest day for boaters in the state.

“We’ve got the freedom swim today we have the fireworks tonight and we just have a lot of big events,” said FWC officer Brian Norris. “There’s going to be a lot of boat traffic out there today.”

And boaters told us they were ready for a big Fourth of July crowd.

“It’s usually a zoo,” said Punta Gorda resident Troy Futch. “It’s usually a ton of boats and a lot of swimmers.”

That’s why FWC is cracking down on boaters under the influence, as well as looking for reckless or careless driving.

“July typically has the highest number of boating accidents in the state and nearly a quarter of the fatalities last year were attributed to alcohol,” Norris said.

They’re also running inspections and looking for safety equipment like life jackets and other vital items.

Because people are staying later on the water for fireworks, FWC says it’s also important to check your navigational lights.

“Ultimately it’s a wonderful holiday celebrating America’s independence but you know it can also be a very tragic day too so if people just slow down, have patience and just make sure that they’re following the different rules everyone can have a fun and safe holiday,” Norris said.

Reporter:Taylor Bisacky