Memorial Day weekend boater safety tips

Published: Updated:
Chiquita lock debate. (Credit: WINK News)
Chiquita lock debate. (Credit: WINK News)

It is Memorial Day weekend and a lot of you are taking the opportunity to get out on the water. But for some neighbors in Cape Coral, getting to the gulf is a big hassle.

We are talking about the Chiquita Lock near Cape Harbour. It can cause hour-long backups when it is busy.

Earlier this month, witnesses spoke in front of a judge to challenge a permit issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to remove the lock, which allows access to the gulf from all the canals on the southwest side of Cape Coral.

For a long time, many in the community have fought over the lock should stay or go. Some neighbors said it helps with water quality while others said it causes boater traffic jams. A final decision from the judge could take up to two months.

If you are planning on heading out Sunday or on Monday, officials from the FWC want to stay safe on the water.

In Lee County alone, the FWC reports six boating fatalities already this year. They recently celebrated National Safe Boating Week encouraging people to wear life jackets as they are out on the water.

The agency also recommends that you carry a visual distress signal for both days and night. Lastly, before you make a trip, it is important to make a float plan.

The plan includes the make and model of your boat as well as detailed plans on your trip. Leave it with someone you can depend on to notify FWC in the case of an accident.

An outline of the float plan, along with additional boater safety tips, can be found on the FWC website.

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