Marine Unit

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Patrol Operations Bureau
- Marine and Environmental Lands Unit

In conjunction with National Safe Boating Week and the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, Marine deputies will maintain a high profile on the Pinellas County waterways to ensure a safe holiday for citizens and visitors. The deputies encourage the public to enjoy this time but remind everyone to keep safety in mind when out on the water.

National Safe Boating Week is from Saturday, May 21, 2016 to Friday, May 27, 2016 and the Memorial Day holiday weekend begins the morning of Saturday, May 28, 2016, and continues until midnight on Monday, May 30, 2016.

The areas of emphasis are Pinellas County waterways.

The Sheriff’s Marine Unit will maintain a proactive profile during National Safe Boating Week and over the holiday weekend on the waterways of Pinellas County.

Before getting underway, marine deputies remind everyone of the following:

  • It is the operator’s responsibility to know and be familiar with the vessel they are operating and the area they are navigating, to include the depth of water, tides and weather.
  • Operators should file a float plan with a family member or friend on the location they are boating, in case they become overdue it will provide law enforcement a general area to search.
  • It is important that the operator has all required safety equipment onboard and the passengers know where this safety equipment such as life jackets are located in the event of an unexpected circumstance, whether a boating accident or a mechanical failure.
  • Be sure to operate your vessel in a safe manner, as you are responsible for not only yourself but the passengers onboard. Operate your vessel slow in vessel congested areas. Be aware of the restricted zones such as the slow speed minimum wake zone, idle speed no wake and swim exclusion zones.
  • Anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 who operates a vessel powered by 10 horsepower or more must pass an approved boaters safety course and have in their possession a photographic identification and a boating safety education identification card issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Exemptions are listed in Florida State Statute 327.395(6).
  • It is illegal to be impaired while operating a vessel, keep in mind responsible use of alcohol and have a designated operator.

Additionally, for those planning to spend time on the water, “Operation Kid-Float” is a program available to citizens that loans personal floatation devices (PFDs) to children. Children under the age of six must wear a PFD while underway and the Marine Unit recommends that PFDs be readily accessible to all occupants of a vessel.

Marine deputies will have PFDs on board and will hand them out as needed following boat safety equipment inspections. PFDs can be returned at the PCSO Marine Facility (drop-off bin only) located at 19305 Gulf Boulevard in Indian Shores. Citizens can also pickup and drop off loaner PFDs at the three locations below:

  • John Chestnut Park located at 2200 East Lake Road S. in Palm Harbor.
  • Dunedin City Marina located at 51 Main Street in Dunedin.
  • Fort Desoto Boat Ramp located at 3500 Pinellas Bayway S. in Tierra Verde.

With proper preparation and attention, boaters will enjoy their time on the water - every time, helping us to lead the way for a safer Pinellas. For additional information please contact the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit or Environmental Lands Unit at 727-582-6200.

Posted by Thursday, May 26, 2016 3:26:00 PM Categories: Marine Unit and Flight Unit

Non Emergency Line: (727) 582-6200 | In an Emergency call 911ADA info