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Important boat safety ahead of busy the Memorial Day Holiday

As you probably know, this weekend marks the unofficial start of summer for millions of Americans. It’s expected to be the third busiest Memorial Day weekend since 2000, according to AAA when they started tracking holiday travel. That means millions of vacationers will head to Florida’s beaches, waterways, and the ocean
The National Safe Boating Council wants to remind boaters to brush up on their boat safety skills and prepare for boating season. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, roughly 4 out of every 5 recreational boating deaths was from drowning. And 85% of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets. Wearing a life jacket is the simplest and most effective way any boater can stay safe on the water and have fun!

Since the holiday falls during National Safe Boating Week this year, officials are hoping to raise awareness. National Safe Boating Week is a global awareness effort that encourages boaters to make the most of their boating adventure by being responsible. Officials are warning you to know what to do before getting on a boat or other watercraft. They are expecting an above average number of boaters on the water for Memorial Day weekend.

Officials say there are a handful of simple steps that can take that will make all the difference. It starts and ends with safe boating decisions. First and foremost, have enough life jackets to go around for everyone and always file a float plan. A float plan lets others know where you’re going and when you plan to get back. Give your float plan to a family member or a friend. It should include info on your boat as well as what equipment you have on board, including safety equipment. Also, always pay attention and maintain full visibility when operating a boat, take a safe boating course, and never boat under the influence.  Also, beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Be sure to install and maintain a working CO detector. Lastly, always prepare for the unexpected.

Checking the weather is a key step to having a great boating excursion as well. That includes knowing the water temperature, the latest marine weather forecast, and keeping a regular check for changing conditions.

Digital meteorologist Leslie Hudson says the Florida heat is going to be turned up this holiday weekend.

Interior sections of the state and parts of south Florida could see an elevated risk of excessive heat. That means prolonged exposure to high heat could be dangerous if you are susceptible to very hot temperatures that could pose heat-related impacts.

Lastly, before you head out and enjoy the waterways, be sure to keep in touch. Communication devices can be the most importan–t piece of equipment on a boat, especially in an emergency. Be sure to have and know how to use at least two communication devices that work when wet, such as satellite phones, emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB), VHF radios, and personal locator beacons (PLB)