Officials Urge Boating Safety This Weekend

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 6's Laura Rodriguez shows you why it's important to remember boating safety this holiday weekend.

    As hundreds of boaters get ready to head out into the water this weekend, first responders have a message to ensure everyone is safe: Use Common Sense.

    "It's one of the things you should never leave home when you're going out on the boat," said Jorge Pino, spokesperson for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    Perhaps the most important moment to use common sense, authorities say, is when it's time head home. Officials want to avoid tragedies like the one that happened earlier this month involving a 23-year-old man who died trying to help push a boat off a sandbar.

    "We recommend that you wait. Wait it out. Wait till the high tide comes and then you can move your vessel," said Pino.

    Officials also warn operating a boat while intoxicated will not be tolerated.

    "If we catch you, we're going to arrest you and we will confiscate your vessel," said Pino.

    Something else to remember: life jackets. The law requires each boat to have one life vest per passenger. Children 6 and under must wear a life jacket at all times.

    "If [an adult] is not gunna wear one because [they] choose not to wear one have them readily accessible. The likelihood that you'll have time to reach for a life vest in a moment of stress is slim to none," said Pino.

    In 2013, Coast Guard officials say nationwide the number of boating accidents decreased by 10 percent, but Florida still leads the way with the highest number of boating fatalities.

    "Keep those fatalities out of the state of Florida. We'd like to remind you to please wear your safety gear. Ensure the safety equipment on your boat is properly function," said Lt. Mike Cortese with the U.S. Coast Guard.

    Examples of safety equipment include a flare, fire extinguisher, and a sound producing device. It is also important to let someone know what your boating plans are in case of emergency.

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