JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is cracking down on boaters under the influence as part of a statewide initiative called Operation Dry Water.
The initiative happens every year on the Fourth of July weekend.
The FWC and other law enforcement agencies joined together to look for boaters who are under the influence. News4Jax saw the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office marine unit patrolling Saturday afternoon too.
FWC Officer Nathaniel Cheshire said during Memorial Day weekend this year in the north central region, the FWC gave out 10 BUIs.
He said one of the ways he finds out people are under the influence is when he pulls people over for other violations.
“One of the big reasons for our probable cause is they’re blowing a manatee speed zone or operating carelessly, or something like that,” Cheshire said.
News4Jax was there this Saturday afternoon when Cheshire pulled over three different skippers.
“The whole purpose of Operation Dry Water is public safety,” Cheshire said.
Cheshire said before you go on the water this Fourth of July weekend, always make sure you’re wearing your life vests, have access to one that’s throwable, a sound device and have access to a fire extinguisher. And the most important thing of all is pay attention.
“The water is inherently more dangerous than the road itself because you don’t have landlines, you don’t have stop signs telling you when to go, when to stop, you have boats coming at you at all directions,” Cheshire said.
Cheshire said if a boater is coming from the left side of another boat, give way and slow down. If a boater is coming from the right side of another boat, keep going.
Cheshire issued some citations that cost as much as $90, so he said to always make sure you’re paying attention while on the water.