Agencies Promoting Safe Boating, Celebrating During July 4th Holiday Weekend

With many across South Florida already preparing for the July 4th holiday weekend, officials are reminding everyone to stay safe both on land and in the water.

For the 19th straight year, officers from Miami-Dade County held a “No More Stray Bullets” rally in an effort to stop people from randomly shooting weapons in the air, reminding residents that doing so is illegal and has proved to be fatal before.

"Stray billets have a tendency of coming down and hitting innocent individuals and destroying families," said Miami Gardens Police Chief Debra Noel-Pratt.

Event organizers say in order to prevent gun violence, the whole community has to do their part.

"We need all communities to work together for the better of the good," said Rev. Jerome Starling.

At the same time, Coast Guard officials want boaters to enjoy festivities safely – reminding all operators and anyone going on the water to check equipment and make sure everyone has a life jacket before leaving shore.

"Make sure you have the proper equipment on your boat, regarding first aid kits in case anyone was hurt," said Capt. Ignatius Carroll from Miami Fire Rescue. "If you have to call 911, make sure you have your phone in a protected case or waterproof like case so you can make those calls."

The Coast Guard also reminds you to let someone on land know your boating plan in case something happens on the water.

The agency, along with Miami-Dade County and other groups, will be on the water in force over the next few days watching for any boaters who are drinking while operating their vessel.

"It is vastly important to have a designated driver," said Maj. Alfredo Escanio from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. "This is will be zero tolerance weekend for us when it comes to boating under the influence."

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