Police share boating safety reminders ahead of Memorial Day weekend

WINTER PARK, Fla. - The lakes, rivers and inlets will be packed for Memorial Day Weekend.

"Lots of boats, lots of fun and lots of people celebrating the weekend," said Sergeant Luke Hofer of the Winter Park Police Department.

Winter Park Police will be out patrolling the chain of lakes making sure that boaters enjoy themselves responsibly.

That could include checking that boaters have all of their required safety equipment on board, which is one of the most common citations they hand out.

"Make sure you have everything you need on board," Hofer said. "You life vests, sound producing devices and make sure you know the laws."

Police are reminding families that any child under six must wear a life jacket while on a boat.

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It is also against the law for a person to be impaired by drugs or alcohol while operating a boat.

The Drive Dry organization joined FOX 35 on Lake Maitland to help get the word out about BUI enforcement.

"I’m glad these guys are out here because it’s super important," said Mark Watts of DriveDry.org, "You need to drive dry and be safe.

Alcohol is the number one leading contributor to boating fatalities and injuries and this is 100% preventable. So if you’re behind that wheel keep it dry."

Three years ago on Memorial Day weekend, Winter Park Police said a group of teens that had been drinking went out on a boat and a 20-year-old entered the water and never resurfaced.

It’s another reason why Watts said alcohol in moderation is also recommended for any passengers.

"The sun intensifies the effects of alcohol out here and you may not realize that," Watts said. "So if you are going to consumer adult beverages, make sure you’re not driving."