MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s the Labor Day holiday weekend, with many people planning backyard barbecues, some time at the beach, or taking their boats out on the water.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reminds boaters to exercise caution because the holiday weekend is usually a time for increased boating traffic on waterways.

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Boaters are reminded not to drink alcohol while out on the water. Not only does it decrease the operator’s ability to make sound judgments, but it also negatively affects the ability of passengers to respond in the case of an emergency.

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The FWC recommends the following safe boating practices:

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  • Never boat under the influence. Have a designated sober operator.
  • Always wear a life jacket aboard a vessel.
  • Have a float plan. Let family and friends know where you are going and when you will return.
  • Make sure the boat has an emergency locator beacon.
  • Watch the weather. The National Weather Service broadcasts marine weather forecasts regularly by radio.

The FWC also recommends all boat operators take a boating safety course. According to their boating accident statistics, 69 percent of operators involved in fatal boating accidents in 2020 had no formal boater education. Team