Nassau County deputies crack down on boater safety for Independence Day Weekend

As more people hit the water on this 4th of July weekend, local police are also out, reminding boaters to stay safe.

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office was out on the water patrolling for the holiday weekend as a part of Operation Dry Water.

Law enforcement agencies expected a lot of boaters out on the water and given the recent boating accidents in the last month, they wanted to ensure all captains were sober before they got behind the wheel...of their boat.

Patroling on major holiday weekends such as the fourth of July is nothing new for Nassau County deputies.

“We’re out in force with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Coast Guards, making sure we stay safe on the waterways,” Detective Ken Clements, Nassau County Marine Unit said.

While patrolling the area, officers have to be alert and aware to notice the signs of a drunk boater. Some signs include drivers “operating the boat and not paying attention to where they’re going or driving in an area they shouldn’t be,” Clement said.

News4JAX took a ride to places like downtown Fernandina and Fort Clinch with the Nassau County deputies looking out for boats all around.

“We’re looking for anyone that operates a boat wildly, goes through an idle speed zone or no-wake zone at speed,” Clements said.

Clements and another deputy stopped a boat for going too fast in an idle speed zone.

Clements said they would have two boats with two to three deputies on them out all weekend, sun-up to sundown.

These are the items you need to have in a boat with you at all times:

Your boater registration and license, life jackets, a whistle or horn, fire extinguisher, flares, and a kill switch while at speed... and in case someone falls of the boat, a throwable flotation device is a good idea as well.

Boating can be dangerous and deputies are actively working to keep boaters safe.

“It can be very dangerous. Just within the last month, there have been several fatalities in the state of Florida due to boating accidents, and in a lot of boating accidents the drivers were intoxicated,” Clements said. “If we don’t work a boat accident with you, that’s a good weekend.”


About the Author:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.