Reporting Marybel Rodriguez
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With the combination of hot weather and clear sunny skies, this weekend and the Fourth of July holiday are certain to bring out the boaters.
On Thursday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard announced that they will increase their patrols in an effort to keep things safe.
Boaters are urged to use life jackets and proper safety equipment. The Coast Guard also stressed the importance of filing a float plan and having a working marine radio. Cell phones are great on land, but as boaters head offshore the phone signal weakens as they move away from the coastline.
“Boat smart from the start,” said Capt. Chris Scraba of the U.S. Coast Guard. “What that means, it’s having the float plan, having the equipment onboard, having a radio that works that you’re not relying on a cell phone and ensuring that your loved ones know exactly where you are going.”
Coast Guard crews will be on the lookout for boaters showing disregard for the safety of themselves and others.
Statistics show 90-percent of fatalities on the water were people not wearing a life jacket.
In Florida, drinking while boating is a big problem that maritime law enforcement officers want the boating public to be aware of.
Boaters are also reminded to stay 300 feet away from ‘diver down’ flags. Boaters can be fined $90 for coming too close to a diver.