FWC: Zero tolerance for boating under the influe

Posted at 10:42 PM, May 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-28 00:26:19-04

Lee and Collier counties placed in the top 10 for most boating accidents per county in 2015.

Law enforcement wants those numbers to improve, they will be out on Florida's waterways in full force this holiday weekend.

There are no open container laws on the water, but boating under the influence is treated just like DUI.

"Boating under the influence can happen at night, it can happen in broad daylight, on jet skis, on vessels, you'd be surprised," said Lt. Mark Mahoney of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission.

Mahoney patrols much of the water between Marco Island and Naples.

Alcohol violations aren't the only issue he deals with.

"We look for overloaded boats, operations that are not safe, whether it be careless or reckless, and fishing violations, we check for fishing licenses, bag limits."

Violations such as not having enough life jackets per person can result in a fine of up to $90.

"A majority of the time people are violating manatee speed zones," said Mahoney.

Boaters are encouraged to file a float plan before leaving the harbor. FWC has a complete boater safety guide on its website.