FWC promotes safe boating during Independence day weekend

Published: July 1, 2022 6:31 PM EDT

Southwest Florida’s FWC is promoting safe boating this Fourth of July weekend.

FWC said the Fourth of July is peak boating season in the state.

Many will go and enjoy time at the beach or on a boat. And there will be lots of officers patrolling the water.

So if you plan to board or drive a boat expect to see someone watching to make sure no one gets away with driving drunk.

Before hitting the water this holiday weekend Florida Fish and Wildlife has a message.
don’t drink and drive your boat.

If you do, don’t be surprised if operation dry water nails you.

Adam Brown, PIO Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said, “We don’t want to make an arrest. But I would much rather make an arrest than make a notification of death to a family friend or family member.”

Brown and his partner Chris Patrolling will be on the water this holiday weekend hoping to keep all boaters safe.

They know they have their work cut out for them.

In 2021 the pair investigated more than 50 boating accidents in July just in Southwest Florida.

They know the signs of boaters boating drunk.

“If they’re operating too fast and a slow speed zone, maybe they’re operating recklessly. That gives us enough of a reason to go ahead and speak to them,” Brown said.

In Florida, the legal blood alcohol limit for boaters is .08, the same as if you’re behind the wheel of a car.

And if you do get pulled over you’ll have to go through a vessel safety inspection.

“We’re certainly going to be doing a series of field sobriety tasks just to make sure that that operator is safe. And those will be a series of different hand exercises as well as seated battery exercises that are standardized throughout the nation,” Brown said.

Similar to cars, boat drivers will be required to turn over their registration if issued a DUI and consequences will follow.

On top of sober boating, FWC recommends those hitting the water should have lifejackets on board in case of an emergency.