Boating

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.

Following the sinking of the El Faro cargo ship in October 2015, the National Transportation Safety Board has issued 10 new safety recommendations meant to better inform sailors of impending weather conditions.

The guidelines are being released after two hearings in Jacksonville into the ship’s sinking, which killed all 33 crew members aboard. El Faro set sail from Jacksonville toward Puerto Rico and sank near the Bahamas after losing power and drifting into the path of Hurricane Joaquin.

Photo: U.S. Coast Guard bia Wikimedia Commons

With more than 11,000 miles of rivers, coastlines, and waterways, new U.S. Coast Guard data shows Florida leads the nation in boating accidents and boating deaths, a trend that has been growing in Florida and nationwide since 2013.

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