By Eliott Rodriguez

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida’s COVID-19 reopening has meant more boats on the water, which can lead to boating tragedies. So, with the 4th of July right around the corner, the Broward Sherriff’s Office Marine Patrol is sounding the maritime alarm with a two-week operation that set sail Monday.

BSO Marine Patrol units are out on the Intracoastal Waterway for the first day of the operation aimed at educating boaters are boating safety.

READ MORE: North Miami Beach Mayor Creates GoFundMe Page To Help Displaced Crestview Towers Residents

“We’re going to try to focus on education and enforcement,” said Marine Patrol Officer Alex Jacobi. “In the first week of the operational plan, we’ll have increased patrols and a lot more officers out on the water educating people.”

The second phase of the operation will be increased enforcement in conjunction with marine patrols from Fort Lauderdale, Lighthouse Point, and Hillsborough Beach. Officers will be checking for life jackets, fire extinguishers, and other safety items. They’ll also be issuing tickets to boaters breaking the speed limit or violating no-wake zones.

READ MORE: South Florida Doctors Reiterate There’s No Proof COVID Vaccine Causes Female Infertility

“Those wakes and high speeds impact paddle boaters and canoeists and can damage sea walls and docks,” Jacobi said.

Jacobi added that boat sales and rentals are up now that pandemic restrictions are being relaxed. With more people enjoying what South Florida has to offer, now is the time to put boating safety first, he added.

“Broward County is ranked 11th in vessel accidents in Florida,” Jacobi said. “That’s a decrease for us when you consider how many boats we have on the water, but we want to do better.”

MORE NEWS: Have You Seen Ashley Espinoza-Sanchez? Missing Woman Last Seen At Hard Rock Stadium

Boaters are encouraged to take boating safety courses, which are offered by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Coast Guard Reserve and the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Eliott Rodriguez