It will be a busy on the water in South Florida for Memorial Day Weekend.
Thousands of boaters are expected to hit the water like Luis Fabelo from Miami.
“We are going to go over to Bimini to have some fun there and hopefully make it there safe and come back safe,” says Fabelo, as he launches his boat into the water at Crandon Park Mariana on Key Biscayne.
“You’re out there in the middle of the ocean, anything can happen. So, you want to make sure you have all your gear.”
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Friday morning, Florida Fish and Wildlife held a press conference and were joined by a coalition of South Florida first responders, including the US Coast Guard and Miami Dade Police Marine Patrol Unit, reminding boaters to be safe Memorial Day Weekend.
“So, before you come out boating, make sure your life jackets are in good order, make sure you have good flares, make sure your fire extinguisher is not expired,” says Major Alfredo Escanio with Florida Fish and Wildlife.
“We know that boating for us [South Floridians] is a year around issue. Memorial Day Weekend, it ramps up. It’s probably the busiest holiday weekend in the state.”
As the number of boaters on the water increases, so are the chances for accidents. According to FWC, more than 50% of boating fatalities are from drowning.
“The data shows that life jackets save lives,” says Lt. Cmdr. Brandon Earhart, commanding officer for the US Coast Guard Miami Beach station. “Please ensure you have the appropriate jackets on board, you have the appropriate number of life jackets for the people that are on your boat and ensure everyone knows how to properly use them.”
Just like a car, you can be arrested for drinking and boating. Miami Dade Police plan to be out on the water this weekend, where they will be cracking down on people driving a boat under the influence.
“You just got to be careful,” says Julio Varona, a boater from Miami. “Don’t drink. That’s it. That’s the key. Stay safe. I don’t drink. Coca-Cola, Sprite, that’s it.”