Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Patrol Operations Bureau
- Marine and Environmental Lands Unit
- Patrol Units
As part of the annual Memorial Day safety campaign, Pinellas County deputies will maintain a high profile on the waterways and roadways in order to help ensure a safe holiday for citizens and visitors.
Pinellas County roadways and waterways.
When: The holiday weekend begins Friday night, May 25, 2012 and continues until midnight on Monday, May 28, 2011.
Statistics show Memorial Day to be one of the deadliest holiday weekends for drivers and boaters in the state of Florida. The purpose of the campaign and enforcement effort is to reduce or eliminate injuries and deaths associated with holiday traffic and boating crashes in Pinellas County.
Patrol deputies will maintain a proactive profile over the holiday on the highly traveled roadways of Pinellas County. They will be on the lookout for impaired drivers. They ask that you exercise patience and caution on the busy roadways. The Memorial Day weekend patrol enforcement will kick-off with a Sobriety Checkpoint set for Friday evening, May 25, 2012 (See Press Release #12-123 for details about the DUI Checkpoint).
The Sheriff’s Marine Unit and Environmental Lands Unit will be highly visible Saturday, Sunday and Monday and patrol in a proactive manner so as to promote boating safety, protect the community and environment from the great volume of vessel traffic, and enforce state, federal and local laws. Vessel safety equipment inspections will be conducted on all vessels stopped, and operators observed for alcohol and drug impairment. It is illegal to be impaired while operating a vessel.
Deputies recommend boaters know the vessel they are operating, as well become familiar with the area they are navigating in to include the depth of the water, tides and the weather. They ask operators to file a float plan; let someone know where they will be and when they will return so that in the event of an emergency, law enforcement will have a general area to search. In addition, operators should operate in a safe manner, and adhere to slow speed-minimum wake zones; idle speed-no wake zones and swim zones.
In addition, Marine and ELU deputies conduct “Operation Kid-Float,” a life jacket loaner and boating safety awareness program for children. The Marine Unit recommends that all children wear a personal flotation device while underway and that PFD’s be readily accessible to all occupants of a vessel.
PFDs are available to the public on a loaner basis. The jackets may be picked up at Don’s Dock located at 215 128th Avenue East in Madeira Beach (on John’s Pass). Deputies will also have PFD’s on board and hand them out as needed following boat safety equipment inspections. Citizens are to return the loaner PFD’s after their voyage at the PCSO Marine Facility drop-off bin located at 19305 Gulf Boulevard in Indian Shores.
The Marine Unit will be offering ride-along opportunities for the media on Saturday morning, May 26, 2011. Media wishing to coordinate a ride-along/interview with Marine Unit deputies are asked to contact the Public Information Office at (727) 582-6221.