NewsLocal News


Boating safety awareness ahead of Memorial Day Weekend

Posted at 4:55 PM, May 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-23 18:39:51-04

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA — Right now an annual worldwide campaign is taking place focusing on safety when heading out on the water.

We are surrounded by water here in Southwest Florida, and ahead of this Memorial Day weekend our community leaders want you to be safe as we continue to see accidents, crashes and drownings one too many times on the water.

"64%! 64% of boating fatalities last year were a result of drowning. Had a person been wearing a life jacket that outcome could’ve been different," said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Time and time again officials remind people to head out with their life jackets, especially during the 2023 national safe boating week event — an annual worldwide campaign focused on boating and encouraging boaters to wear life jackets.

"Some of those calls are very very difficult; drownings, propeller strikes, I can’t imagine responding to some of those," said Peg Phillips with the National Safe Boating Council.

Be prepared by making sure your safety equipment is in good working order. Keep an eye on sandbars and watch for all channel markers for proper speeds... Understand our waterways.

"We’ve made it so easy to become a boater. You can go into Costco and buy a case of beans and a kayak and now you’re a boater. But be prepared for that," says Phillips.

Officials strongly encourage you to go out and take a boater safety course before heading out on the water.

"70% of operators involved in fatalities out on our waters didn’t have any formal boater training. More than 64% of the operators with no formal boating safety were over the age of 35," said Charlotte County Sheriff Prummell.

Boating under the influence is another big topic, Leaders say to treat it the same as having a designated driver — have a designated skipper. Officials say you can expect to see an increase of patrols on our waterways this holiday weekend.

For boating safety courses visit: