As summer approaches, the Broward Sheriff’s Office and its neighboring law enforcement partners want to remind boaters to boat responsibly.
BSO’s Marine Patrol unit, along with Hillsboro Beach, Lighthouse Point and Fort Lauderdale Police departments’ marine patrol units, will be initiating a joint proactive operational plan to address the expected increase of vessel traffic and potential watercraft violations in Broward County waterways this summer. The joint operation will be conducted in two consecutive phases, from June 21 through June 27 and from June 28 through the July Fourth holiday. The first phase will focus on high visibility and education, while the second phase will focus on enforcement.
During the two-week operation, boaters can expect to see a high saturation of marine patrol units in areas of Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Port Everglades, Dania Beach, Hillsboro Beach, Lighthouse Point and Fort Lauderdale.
BSO and its partners urge boaters to obey speed and wake laws and offer these tips to help boaters stay safe and afloat this summer:
- Complete a boating education course.
- Get your boat checked for safety’s sake. The Vessel Safety Check is a free public service offered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron volunteer organizations.
- Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket, and make sure all your passengers wear one, too.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages while boating.
- Be aware of weather conditions before heading out on the water, and know what to do if the weather suddenly changes.
- Have a working marine radio on board at all times, and know how to use it.
- Pack extra gear you may need. A flashlight with fresh batteries, flares, a first aid kit, sunscreen and drinking water are a few items that should be packed in a watertight container that floats.
- Tell someone where you are going, who is with you and how long you plan to be out. Then stick to your travel plans.
- Ventilate after fueling. Open hatches, run the blower and check for fuel fumes before starting the engine.
- Know your boat’s capacity and how to load it properly. An overloaded or improperly loaded boat can cause safety problems.
- All children under the age of six, in a vessel under 26 feet, must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket while underway in Florida waters and up to three miles from shore.
For more information about boating safety, visit the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Boating Safety.