KEY BISCAYNE, FLA. (WSVN) - Ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, law enforcement across South Florida is urging boaters to prioritize safety.

This holiday weekend marks the unofficial start of summer and with a lot of people expected to hit the water officials are putting measures in place to ensure everyone stays safe. From the bay to the Atlantic and the waterways in between the presence of law enforcement will be heightened.

“We are serious about this, we want everybody to have a safe and happy Memorial Weekend,” said Maj. Alberto Maza, with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation.

The state of Florida leads the country in boating accidents, according to state data, the majority of boaters involved in those accidents or fatalities are uneducated.

Hence, why officers are stressing the importance of educating yourselves on safety tips, safety equipment, and the vessel you are operating before heading to the boat ramp or out on the water.

“There has to be some urgency from the boating community and the boating public to take some of these measures into consideration,” said Maza.

Urgency, following a tragedy on the bay earlier this month, that claimed the life of 15-year-old Ella Adler after she was struck and hit in the water. That investigation continues.

“When you’re on the water, a proper lookout, 360 degrees all around you at all times. Safe and prudent speed while operating your vessels on the water and of course the operation with the use of alcoholic beverages. The officers behind you will be patrolling and if we stop you while you are impaired you’re going to get arrested and taken to jail,” said Maza.

Captain Jeff Hart with the FWC shares some basic boating safety rules to follow.

“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,” said Hart. “Educate yourself on the vessel platform that you are operating. Educate yourself on navigational rules and safety rules.”

If you plan to head out on the water this weekend or this summer and would like a refresher in boating basics, click here.

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