Did you know that many equipment requirements for boaters depend on the size of the vessel and/or the boaters’ intended destination?

While it can be tricky to determine exactly what safety items must be present, where they should go, and when, it is vital to your safety – and others’ – that you are well equipped before you set out to sea.

To relieve any confusion, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is hosting free vessel equipment checks at Pinellas County boat ramps monthly throughout the summer.

One weekend each month through September, Marine Unit deputies will be stationed on land at two boat ramps in the county. They will circulate throughout the parking lot to ensure boaters have all the legally required equipment specific to their vessels before they launch.

Examples of what deputies will be checking for include:

  • The proper number of personal flotation devices
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Flares or other visual distress signals
  • Proper lighting for evenings/nights or periods of reduced visibility, like rain or fog

Marine Unit deputies had a rainy start to the vessel equipment check program, hosting the first events of the season Saturday, May 19th, at Pinellas War Veterans Memorial Park Boat Ramp and Sunday, May 20th, at Fort De Soto Park Boat Ramp.

By conducting these vessel equipment checks, deputies hope to inform boaters who are missing a required item about the issue before they reach the water, where they could be issued a citation for the problem.

We also encourage you to use this opportunity to ask deputies questions about boating safety, navigating local waters, and anything law enforcement-related about which you are unsure.

Visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) website for a list of other mandatory items based on your boat type: http://myfwc.com/boating/safety-education/equipment/

Posted by Joanna Cheshire Thursday, October 11, 2018 1:56:00 PM

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