Use of life jackets and the filing of ‘float plans’ strongly encouraged
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Unit will be monitoring area waterways this Memorial Day weekend to ensure boaters and those operating personal watercraft stay safe, the Sheriff’s Office has announced.
In a news release, the office has offered the following tips for those heading out on the water:
- Life jackets: Make sure you have personal flotation devices (PFDs) for all who will be aboard and make sure children under age 6 wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved, properly-fitting life jacket while the vessel is underway.
- Alcohol and boating do not mix: Consuming alcoholic beverages will affect perception, reaction time and decision-making. “Don’t drink and boat!” the news release stresses.
- Proper safety and rescue equipment: Check batteries, on-board electronics (radios) and navigation lights to ensure all are in working order.
- Permits and licensing: Make sure you have up-to-date fishing licenses and marine decals for your vessel. Know size requirements and what fish are in season.
- Watch the signs: Know the meanings of the red and green channel markers, and watch for “Slow” and “No Wake” signs. These apply to all vessels.
- File a “float plan”: If you plan to be on the water for an extended period of time, let family members or friends know about your plans and stay in touch with someone on shore. Download a float plan from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office website by visiting www.SarasotaSheriff.org and clicking on “Crime Prevention,” then “Safety Information” and, finally, “Boating Safety.”
Residents also may view the Sheriff’s Office’s boating safety video by visiting the Sheriff’s Office YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/SarasotaSheriff.