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‘Pay attention;’ Boat marinas prep for a busy holiday weekend and hundreds on the water

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Families and boaters are preparing for a busy Memorial Day Weekend. With temperatures feeling close to 100 degrees, many people will be getting out on the water.

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“This marina we have a ramp over there and that ramp is gonna be crazy busy,” Captain Tyler Barrus said, pointing to the boat ramp off Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville Beach. “There’s gonna be people all up and down getting on their boats. Get there early. Come back early.”

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Captain Tyler Barrus is the Lead Training Instructor for Freedom Boat Club. He gave Action News Jax some tips for boating safety.

“Really make sure, as the operator, you’re telling people what you’re doing,” Barrus said. “Drowning happens because people fall overboard. People fall overboard because they don’t know what the drivers gonna do.”

READ: Mickler’s Landing will be temporarily closed on Friday but open Memorial Day weekend

Drowning was the number one cause of death on the water with 445 cases, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s most recent data in 2022. Out of those cases, only 64 people were wearing a life jacket.

You must have a properly fitting life jacket for everyone who’s on board your vessel. If you don’t, you could get a ticket. The Coast Guard could also terminate your voyage. You also must have a Type 4 or “seat cushion” visible.

“Those have to be what’s called immediately available,” Barrus said. “Meaning if somebody falls in the water that can be thrown to them.”

The holiday weekend also happens to fall on National Boating Safety Week.

“Pay attention that’s the biggest thing,” Barrus said. “Do not drink and drive.”

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