Multiple law enforcement agencies team up to patrol South Florida waters for holiday weekend

Extra enforcement begins Friday


MIAMI – Multiple law enforcement agencies are coming together in full force on the waters off Miami for Memorial Day weekend.

"Our wish is that we have another great, safe, free-of-tragedy holiday weekend," Key Biscayne Police Chief Charles Press said.

In hopes of fulfilling that wish, more than 30 boats will be patrolling the Miami waterways.

"Today, my message is simple. There are two things that are going to cause accidents on the water this weekend: excessive speed and alcohol," U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Mike Cortese said.

The extra enforcement started Friday, with some boaters getting pulled over for boat safety checks. Officers said they will be pulling over boaters to make sure that they're in compliance.

Safety equipment required on boats includes everything from a buoy, life jackets, flare guns and a whistle. Those without the proper safety equipment on their boat will receive either a warning or a citation.

"I appreciate their efforts at keeping the drunks and the druggies out of the water," Steve Moorman, who received a warning Friday, said. "It can be dangerous out here."

According to Major Alfredo Escanio from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 64 percent of boating fatalities last year were because of drowning, so he stressed that it is important for boaters to wear a life jacket or at least have enough for everyone on board.

"We want to make sure everyone enjoys the beautiful South Florida waters, (and) that's why we're here," Cortese said. "We also want to make sure everyone who leaves the pier comes back from the pier."