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Florida wildlife officials urge safety, beacons for July Fourth weekend boating

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

During the Fourth of July holiday, many people take to the water to celebrate Independence Day. The warm, sunny days of summer combined with viewing fireworks puts many more boats and people on the water near one another.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) urges boaters to use caution while boating on this busy holiday. Inattentiveness or improper lookout cause many boating accidents.

“Boat operators have a personal responsibility to make sure their passengers are safe and they are not creating a hazard for other boaters,” said Capt. Gary Klein, Florida’s boating law administrator. “We all expect to have a good time when we celebrate the Fourth of July. No one expects anything to go wrong, but that can all change in an instant if someone is not paying attention or is operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

During this weekend, boaters can expect to see an enhanced law enforcement presence and increased messaging about safe boating practices.

Beginning July 1, Floridians have another great reason to buy and register an emergency locator beacon. Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature have instituted discounted vessel registration fees for anyone who owns a recreational vessel equipped with an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon or a Personal Locator Beacon.

“For many boaters, an EPRIB or PLB can make a big difference if an emergency occurs,” said Klein. “These devices send a signal via satellite to search-and-rescue agencies so rescuers can more quickly locate the boaters in need.”

More information on EPIRBs is available at MyFWC.com/Boating by clicking on “Safety and Education.”

More information on the new discounted vessel registration law can be found at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ website.

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