Maritime law enforcement officers will be patrolling during Memorial Day weekend

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ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Coast Guard and other maritime law enforcement officers will be heavily patrolling Lake George and Silver Glen Springs in central Florida during Memorial Day weekend.

Both areas are traditionally heavily populated with boaters and swimmers during the long holiday weekend, which can make for dangerous conditions if boaters do not adhere to laws or take appropriate safety precautions.

A boatcrew and officers from Coast Guard Station Ponce De Leon Inlet in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, are joining officers from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Lake County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies in a team effort to ensure safety of the boaters and swimmers enjoying the long weekend on the lake and springs.

Those found to be violating federal, state or local laws will be ticketed and fined accordingly.

BUI Kit

A boating under the influence kit.

“It’s wonderful to know that so many people will be out enjoying some of Florida’s most beautiful natural resources, but densely populated waterways can become dangerous so we’ll be keeping an eye out for illegal and unsafe activities,” said Randal Thompson, of the Coast Guard Investigative Service. “One of the most common violations we’ve seen here in the past during Memorial Day weekend is boaters operating their vessels while intoxicated. That is akin to drinking and driving a car and will not be tolerated.”

Nationwide, alcohol use was the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents in 2013. Coast Guard data shows that in boating deaths involving alcohol use, more than half the victims either capsized their boat or fell overboard.

Alcohol is dangerous for swimmers as well. In 2013, more than 60 percent of drowning deaths occurred after the victim fell off a dock or vessel, and of those, more than one-third were impaired by alcohol at the time of the accident.

Intoxicated boaters and swimmers put themselves and those around them in unnecessary danger.

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