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Coast Guard urges boaters to stay safe over Veterans Day weekend

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The U.S. Coast Guard reminded boaters Friday to exercise caution and stay safe while boating over Veterans Day weekend.

All boaters and beachgoers are urged to be aware of boat traffic, prepare for potential hazards, stay update-to-date with weather changes through the National Weather Service and monitor VHF-FM channel 16 for current safety advisories.

“We would like everyone to enjoy their holiday weekend and recreate responsibly," said Lt. Jason Holstead, command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. “Boating safety is an essential component to activities on the water, and we urge all mariners to remain alert and informed. Let us also not forget the reason for Veterans Day – to thank all the men and women who served in the military during times of war and peace.”

Coast Guard law enforcement crews will be patrolling, conducting safety checks and watching for people boating while intoxicated or operating in an unsafe manner.

The Coast Guard urges mariners to always:

  • Stay Informed -- the public should be aware of weather conditions and monitor the progress and strength of currents through local television, radio and the internet. Check the current and expected weather and water conditions before heading out, and be aware that weather conditions can change quickly.
  • Wear life jackets while on the water.
  • File a float plan with friends, family members and local marinas before heading out. The list should include the number of passengers aboard the vessel, the destination and expected time of return.
  • Always have a working marine-band radio on board.
  • Carry marine flares aboard the vessel.
  • Ensure bilge pumps are operational and vessels are secure for heavy winds and rain.
  • Visit the NOAA website for up to date information on weather broadcasts and current storm advisories.

For more information on boating safety, visit www.uscgboating.org.