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SMOOTH SAILING: CCSO ready for Memorial Day weekend on the water

Approximately 20 law enforcement vessels will be on patrol over the weekend.
Posted at 10:16 PM, May 23, 2024

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — As thousands of boaters get ready to spend the Memorial Day weekend on the water, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is reminding them that law enforcement will be setting sail too.

The sheriff’s office is expecting a large influx of boaters, and said its Marine Unit, in partnership with other agencies, is ready to respond to any emergency.

“What we’re looking for is the boating public to be prepared,” said Deputy First Class Jason Smith. “It will be busy so be courteous of other boaters, be understanding, and absolutely no boating under the influence.”

CCSO Marine Unit
DFC Jason Smith stops a boater for a “slow speed, minimum wake” zone violation.

Smith said CCSO’s Marine Unit has been training and has equipped its vessels with some new gear.

“Our equipment has advanced quite a bit,” said Smith. “We do some night patrol, we have equipment to aid with that including night vision goggles, some of our offshore vessels are highly equipped with FLIR, and personnel wise we have become considerably higher trained than in years past.”

Smith told Fox 4 that approximately 20 law enforcement vessels will be on patrol over the weekend, including some from the Punta Gorda Police Department, the Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Despite the increased police presence, Smith said the goal is not to stop people from having fun this weekend, but rather to keep people safe.

“We're not out to crush their day and give them a bunch of citations,” said Smith. "We’re here to educate them and make sure they’re being safe and keep them in check.”