Boating

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Southwest Florida is a boaters’ paradise, with miles of canals leading to rivers and the gulf. People often move here almost entirely because of our access to the water. But, Florida leads the nation overall when it comes to boating accidents and fatalities, and southwest Florida is certainly no exception. This week is the 60th annual National Safe Boating Week. It’s when officials try to spread the word about what boaters should be doing, and paying attention to, while out on the water. We’re joined by Brian Rehwinkel from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Boating and Waterways Section, he’s one of those officials trying to get the word out about boating safety. And we’re joined by Heather Preston, she’s an astrophysicist and Planetarium Director at the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium in Fort Myers. She'll be leading a Captain's Night Presentation on Friday, May 25 the subject of Hawaiian Wayfinding: that’s how to use things like stars, winds, waves, currents, salinity, etc. to navigate while out on the water.

The number of boating accidents in Florida has been on the rise since 2016.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Palm Beach County officials are reminding boaters to slow down -- it’s manatee season.

‘Operation Mermaid’ is a multi-agency effort to protect manatees from being injured by boats.

Local police departments patrolling Palm Beach County’s inlets and the Intracoastal Waterway are stepping up enforcement of speed violations.

“We don’t want anybody speeding where they shouldn’t be,” said West Palm Beach Police Officer Mickey Allen. “They could not only hit manatee, but hurt themselves as well.”

The Port of Key West remains closed in the wake of Hurricane Irma, and the Coast Guard is urging boaters to stay away.

Alex Newberry

The Sarasota Sailing Squadron sits directly on Sarasota Bay. There are some 200 boats on trailers. Several boats not strapped down to the ground were pushed over sideways by the wind. One captain sank his sailboat on purpose to protect it.

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