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Local agencies host events to highlight National Safe Boating Week

Police and fire departments will host events Saturday to ensure everyone will be protected and educated before hitting the blue waters.

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — With Saturday being the start of National Safe Boating Week, local law enforcement agencies around the Tampa Bay area are making sure to remind boaters to be attentive.

Police and fire departments will host events Saturday to ensure everyone will be protected and educated before hitting the blue waters.

Here's a breakdown of some events happening around the area.

Sarasota

The Sarasota Police Department will be hosting a boating safety inspection day from 8 a.m. until noon Saturday at Centennial Park, located at 1059 N. Tamiami Trail.

The department will be partnering up with the U.S. Coast Guard, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium Stranding Investigations Program to kick off the event.

Police say with the excitement surrounding Memorial Day weekend, safety equipment checks are often overlooked.

"According to the United States Coast Guard, each year, hundreds of lives are lost, thousands are injured and millions of dollars in property damage happens because of preventable recreational boating accidents on our waterways," Sarasota Police Marine Patrol Officer Michael Skinner said in a statement. "The Sarasota Police Department wants to make sure everyone has a safe boating season."

Greg and Mindy Isaacs will also join the event sharing the importance of wearing an engine cut-off switch after their son, Ethan, died in 2022 after he was struck by a boat properly after a crash.

Venice

The Venice Police Marine Unit is reminding all boaters to "brush up on their boating safety skills" while preparing for boating season. 

The agency will be hosting a safe boating event from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday at the Venice Marina Park & Boat Ramp. Staff will be conducting vessel safety checks, educating on safe boating and holding a life jacket drive.

For the department's first ever "Life Jacket Drive," sponsored by Sea Tow Venice, people are asked to bring new or gently used life jackets for others in the community to use.

"We want to remind every boater, 'The best boating experience is safe boating,' we want everyone to have fun on the water, make memories with your family and friends – all while keeping our boating community safe," the agency wrote on Facebook.

Safety Harbor

The Safety Harbor Fire Department and Firefighters Local 2267 are hosting the Children's Life Jacket Give Away Event from 9-11 a.m. Saturday outside Station 52, located at 700 Main St.

The fire agency will be handing out free life jackets for kids. They say the child must be present at the event to receive one. Sizes range from 10-90 pounds.

"With last years event resulting in supplying 175 life jackets to children in need in under 1 hour, we are expecting another large turn out," the agency wrote on Facebook.

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