MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In order to keep things safe on the water over the upcoming Columbus Day holiday weekend, Biscayne National Park has partnered up with a number of agencies to crackdown on boaters posing a risk to themselves or others.

Park officials say the holiday, which this year runs from October 10th through the 13th, is traditionally the most dangerous weekend of the year for those visiting the park by boat. In recent years safety has improved, however. Fewer boats have been involved in accidents or groundings in the fragile habitat as law enforcement entities increased their presence.

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“Americans set this park aside for its tremendous resources, the splendor of its scenery and the significance of its wildlife,” said Superintendent Brian Carlstrom. “We hope that visitors safely enjoy the park as it is, a national treasure.”

Special regulations are in force during Columbus Day weekend. Boaters will directed into a marked anchorage area on the northwest side of Elliott Key. No more than five boats may be rafted together in this area. A minimum of 100 feet is required between single vessels or groups. This allows access for emergency services.

There will be a zero tolerance policy for boating under the influence of alcohol, excessive noise, possessing illegal drugs or promoting unauthorized commercial activities.

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To avoid arrest, fines of $5,000 or more, visitors are encouraged to maintain proper safety and navigation gear, have a sober skipper, do not litter and do not operate their boats at night. Boaters should also be alert for swimmers.

Safety inspections and “boating under the influence” checks are conducted throughout the weekend.

Agencies partnering with the National Park Service include the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Miami-Dade Police Department, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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