ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Summer is quickly approaching in the Sunshine State, which means Florida's waterways will be filled with boats and other watercraft.
Florida Fish and Wildlife wants to remind boaters to prioritize safety while enjoying the water. FWC says many boating accidents can be prevented by paying attention, mining 360-degree awareness and taking a boater safety course.
“Our state is known worldwide as a prime boating spot for residents and visitors. Unfortunately, each year FWC officers respond to far too many tragic boating accidents that could have been prevented,” said Major Rob Beaton, FWC Boating and Waterways Section Leader. “There were hundreds of accidents reported last year, involving almost 2,000 individuals.”
FWC says in 2022, 54% of all vessel accidents involved collision and 70% of operators involved in fatal boating accidents had no formal boater education.
For a summary of Florida’s regulations and available courses, click here.
FWC also encourages boaters to wear a United States Coast Guard-approved life jacket at all times while on the water and should understand the dangers of impaired boating.
“Boating while impaired by alcohol or drugs is dangerous and illegal,” said Beaton. “FWC officers are always on the lookout for impaired operators and these operators will face arrest if found to be operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”
To report dangerous boating activity, the public can submit anonymous tips by texting 847411 (Tip411) with the keyword “FWC” followed by the location and any information about the violation or call 888-404-FWCC (3922).
Additionally, there is an easy-to-use downloadable iPhone or Android app: “FWC Wildlife Alert.”