Thursday, May 9, 2013

Enjoy The Great Dock Canoe Race

The Great Dock Canoe Race is one of Collier County’s most popular traditions, and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office wants you to enjoy it safely.

The 37th annual Great Race Dock Canoe Race is Saturday.

Boating safety is everyone’s responsibility. CCSO deputies, along with city, state and federal law enforcement officers, will remove dangerous and impaired boaters from the waterways during race weekend.

Boating under the influence of alcohol is dangerous. Statistics show that a significant number of boating deaths are alcohol related. Penalties for BUI can include jail, civil fines, criminal fines, and vessel impoundment. Sun, wind, noise, and motion can intensify the effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications. These factors can severely affect reaction times and lead to a boating accident.

CCSO’s goal is to protect you while reducing the number of alcohol-related accidents on our waterways. Remember to drink responsibly and have a designated driver.

Should you need law enforcement or medical assistance, call the Collier County Sheriff’s Office’s non-emergency line at 239.252.9300, or 911 in an emergency. Boaters can use their vessel’s VHF radio to call for assistance; the radio should be tuned to channel 16 or channel 21 alpha.

You can also flag down a law enforcement officer directly, if you need assistance.

CCSO and its public safety partners – Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Marco Island Police Department, Naples Police and Emergency Services Department, and U.S. Coast Guard – will have roving patrols along the beach at the south end of Keewaydin Island. The barrier island that stretches along the coast between Naples and Marco is a popular gathering spot for boaters on race day.

There will also be two tents set up along Keeywadin to assist boaters in need. Two tents, one south and one middle, will be manned by law enforcement.

CCSO also offers these safety reminders:

* Excessive rafting to anchored vessels which unreasonably or unnecessarily causes a navigational hazard to other vessels is unlawful.

* Life jackets save lives. It’s not enough to carry life jackets; they should be worn at all times. Children younger than 6 must wear a life jacket at all times aboard a vessel.

Click here to watch a CCSO video about staying safe during the Great Dock Canoe Race.