Coast Guard invites public to open house

Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. – Boating is a big pastime in Southwest Florida, and this weekend it’s all about staying safe while on the water.

One local group knows a lot about what it takes to keep you and your family safe. The United States Coast Guard station opened its gates over the weekend to kick off national boater safety week.

“We want people when they go out there to be safe, and if something goes wrong, we want them to have the proper equipment to help us find them,” said Coast Guardsman Jesse Ameigh.

Visitors had the chance to climb aboard the search and rescue vessels. Learning more about the equipment and to gain an appreciation for what the coastguard does.

“We want to educate the public on our mission, what we do, and safe boating,” said Ameigh.

From GPS to flares, there are a number of items that the coastguard wants boaters to have with them. Top on that list is a life jacket.

“Life jackets, they float you don’t,” said Coast Guardsman Erik Voegtlin. “If something goes wrong in the water it’s going to be whether you have a life jacket or not.”

On Sunday that message clearly got a cross.

“I don’t really like wearing life jackets that much,” said Ian Schumacher. He thinks twice about wearing one now “considering how much drowning there is and stuff like that.”

In 2014, the Coast Guard says out of all the fatalities on the water across the State of Florida, 84 percent of them involved people not wearing a life jacket.

If there’s one message the coast guard hopes the open house gets across, it’s that life jackets live up to their name.

“Bring your gear, wear your gear, it will save your life,” said Ameigh.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.