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Bonita Bay Marina teaches safety at sea during boat show

Bonita Bay Marina teaches safety at sea during boat show
Posted at 5:28 PM, Feb 25, 2024

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — The winter season means more road traffic and boat traffic. Attendants of this year's Bonita Bay Marina Boat Show were given free boater safety tips as they looked to purchase these luxurious boats.

Hundreds of people came out to the three-day event to see luxury boats and also learn about safety out on the water.

After battling COVID and Hurricane Ian the boat show has made its return in what they are calling record-breaking attendance over its 13-year history.

Throughout the weekend, the show had events with the US Coast Guard Auxiliary where boat owners could get their boats inspected for free and talk about boater safety.

“Safety is the key to a fun day on the water, coming home safe," said Ray John, General Manager of Fish Tale Boats.

Captain Tibe Larson, VP of Operations at Bonita Bay Marina, says they were able to see some of the Marines' newest technology as well as learn crucial safety tips and rules.

“The Coast Guard Auxiliary was here, they even had a patrol boat in our basin at the marina going over safety with our boaters," said Larson. "There’s a huge checklist for boaters to have. Making sure life jackets, whistles, flares, and a few other items are on boats for safety.”

According to a study by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), the state of Florida has the number one highest rate of boater deaths compared to any other state in the US. With 95% of Florida boater deaths in 2022 being in state waters, or within 9 miles from shore.

“There’s a lot of new boaters out on the water, I do suggest they take a course," said John. "It’s a great course by the Coast Guard Auxiliary. There’s a number of places in Southwest Florida, it’s a couple-day course, but it gives them the rules of the road.”