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Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission continues to push boater safety as boating accidents increase

Posted at 2:57 AM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 02:57:58-04

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Yesterday’s boating accident in Fort Myers is one of many. According to FWC around 3:30 pm, a boating incident occurred involving a single vessel with 11 people on board operating near Estero Bay, in Lee County. A 26 -year- old woman was standing near the bow of the vessel when she fell in and was struck by the propeller.

Officer Adam Brown with FWC says this is very concerning.

“We’ve had several propeller related accidents certainly this summer. It’s been an ongoing issue that we’re trying to educate as many people as we can about the dangers of operating near the sandbars and where people congregate in the water,” said Officer Brown.

Since the start of the summer Officer Brown says boating accidents have increased dramatically.

“Every single weekend we’ve seen a major uptick in boating activity many people are congregating on the water, with that comes great responsibility to know how to operate a vessel safely, keeping everyone on your boat safe,” said Officer Brown.

The first step to helping decrease the number of accidents in the water, Officer Brown says is boater education.

“We highly encourage everyone to take a boater ID course, it will help you learn the rules of the water as well as safety regulations. Paying attention to everyone on your boat where they are seated what they are doing as well as the other boat traffic on the water. You don’t want to get distracted by cell phones or technology, said Officer Brown.

Officer Brown says after receiving the proper education, check out your boat to make sure it meets the state's safety requirements.

The first thing is we certainly encourage everyone to find a comfortable lifejacket and wear it at all times. You never know when an incident may occur and you might find yourself in the water unexpectedly. A lot of these things will become dilapidated from salt water, and sun and just overtime. Also make sure you’ve got your life jackets, your flares, your fire extinguishers, your whistle, your horn and all of those things are up to date and in good condition,” said Officer Brown.

For more information on boating safety, you can head to FWC’s website with opportunities for education and more.