MIAMI (WSVN) - Officials are stressing the importance of boating safety ahead of the Memorial Day weekend in South Florida.

This week marks National Safe Boating Week and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is helping boaters brush up on their safety skills.

“We have Memorial Day upon us and, before the summer months, to promote boating safety,” said FWC Captain Jeff Hart.

Officials will be out on patrol reminding boaters to enjoy the waters safely.

“Make sure you have all your safety equipment onboard, your registration and ID and we should have no problems,” said Hart.

The reminders from law enforcement to be smart and safe come on the heels of a deadly boating accident on Biscayne Bay that claimed the life of 15-year-old Ella Adler. That investigation continues.

Sadly Florida leads the country in boating accidents every year. Broward and Miami-Dade both make the top ten in number of boating accidents.

That’s why FWC officials want to educate the public about boating safety ahead of the busy summer months.

“The safety of our residents and the visitors that come here to enjoy Florida’s resources is our number one priority,” said Hart. “So yes, this weekend and these summer months, we will be working closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure that safety.”

The three steps to basic boating safety are as follows.

“Number one, don’t consume alcohol and operate a vessel. Number two, make sure you have all of your boating safety equipment onboard. That would include your fire extinguisher, flares, a sound-producing device, a type four thurible, and a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device or life jacket for every member that is onboard. Number three, educate yourself on the vessel platform that you are operating. Educate yourself on navigational rules and safety rules,” said Hart.

The odds are that if you’re out on the water this weekend, and this summer, you could find yourself being stopped for a safety check.

“Do your homework ahead of time, understand what you need for your vessel and for all your patrons on board,” said FWC Officer Tyson Matthews.

A reminder to slow down and be smart and safe as you enjoy your summer on the water.

If you want to learn more about boating safety courses, click here.

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