JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – National Safe Boating week officially kicked off this weekend. It runs from May 22-May 28.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is encouraging boaters to make safety a top priority.
According to the 2020 Boating Accident Statistical Report, FWC said the number of boating accidents increased 16% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Rose Ann Points, with SailTime, discussed National Safe Boating week on The Morning Show on Saturday.
“Boat sales have gone up about 13-percent,” said Points. “It’s at a record high so right now you are going to see a lot more boats on the water than you have in the past.”
Points said sales are up because of the pandemic.
“COVID has really made an impact for everyone in a lot of different ways,” explained Points. “This is a really safe way that families can get together in a safe environment to go boating and so a lot have chosen that way.”
To enjoy the experience safely, Points said boat operators need to pay attention, slow down and not drink while boating.
She said every person on the boat should have a lifejacket that fits properly.
“If you have a lifejacket on board, that substantially gives you a better chance of survival so having these safety things on board are vital to your life,” said Points.
Some of the other items she said boaters should have on board include flares and a sounding device like a horn, a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit.