News Releases

FWC, Coast Guard embark on boating safety tour

News Release

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Media contact: Capt. Carol Keyser, 850-488-5600

Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds all Florida boaters to rededicate themselves to boating safely. On Tuesday, May 11, Gov. Charlie Crist and Cabinet members supported this message by passing a resolution proclaiming May 22-28 as National Safe Boating Week in Florida.

"We are losing too many lives to boating accidents," said Col. Jim Brown, director of the FWC's Division of Law Enforcement. "This resolution shows a collective effort to emphasize the importance of remaining vigilant while boating."

The resolution is timely, as 26 people have already lost their lives this year due to boating accidents. At least 17 of them drowned.

The FWC and the U.S. Coast Guard are teaming up to launch the first "Life Jackets for Life" tour. This effort also includes the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadrons, West Marine, Sea-Doo and Revere Supply Company as part of the tour. The campaign encourages boaters to always wear a life jacket and to develop safe boating habits.

"The U.S. Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have a shared passion for making boating safer in Florida," said Bruce Wright, Recreational Boating Specialist for the USCG's Seventh District. "We are proud to be a partner in the 'Life Jackets for Life' tour."

The tour will kick off Sunday, May 23, in the Intracoastal Waterway in Jacksonville, where the "Wear it Florida" Sea-Doo Challenger 180 boat will begin the week-long journey to Miami.

Along the way, the FWC and USCG have also scheduled stops in New Smyrna Beach, Titusville, West Palm Beach, Pompano Beach and Miami. The media and the public are invited to attend. There will be boating safety information available, and those who attend can register to win inflatable life jackets.

"We want to reach out to as many boaters as we can to help them understand that wearing life jackets saves lives," said Capt. Carol Keyser, head of the FWC's Boating Safety unit. "The wide variety of comfortable, affordable and stylish life jackets on the market today offers Floridians of all ages the protection they need out on the water."

The FWC also reminds the public that boating is a great recreational activity, and Florida is an ideal spot for it.

More information can be found by visiting MyFWC.com/Boating or www.wearitflorida.com.



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