Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission ended the week issuing an executive order for all boaters to follow in the continued effort to lessen the spread of coronavirus in our region, state and the nation. And law enforcement in Southwest Florida plans to make sure everyone is complying for the betterment of public health. But, with so many boaters out on our waters, marine units need a hand.
So marine assistance company Sea Tow was out Saturday patrolling the waters to help FWC in its effort to educate boaters about new social distancing procedures.
Social distancing is just as important on the water as it is on the land. New restrictions include no rafting together and no more than 10 people on a boat. And that executive order is why captain Craig Stransky with Sea Tow is patrolling our waters
“This is how I judge my day if it’s going to be busy,” Stransky said. “If this is full, I’m going to be busy.”
Stransky is lending a hand to FWC to help get the new message across to boaters in Southwest Florida.
NEW Executive Order: Recreational vessels must be at least 50 feet apart with no more than 10 people on board effective immediately: https://t.co/UdppwO1dw3 #Florida #Coronavirus #boating #SocialDistancing pic.twitter.com/VK5akKCKDA
— MyFWC (@MyFWC) March 27, 2020
“Getting the word out to boaters and educating them on social distancing, not rafting together, places they can’t be,” Stransky said. “Just trying to be a helping hand.”
Most beaches, sandbars and islands are closed.
“You can’t go to them, but people still go,” Stransky said. If I see people rafting together and there are multiple people on a boat, you know I’ll go up and say very politely, ‘Hey, you guys you know law enforcement doesn’t want you to raft together. You’ve got the line. Let’s just help each other out here.’”
While some boaters comply, Stransky says he’s worried privileges will be taken away if people don’t start listening.
“Some are, but a lot of people are not,” Stransky said. “If you have 10 people on a boat, that’s not social distancing. You can be smart about it. Don’t go to Sanibel Island. Don’t go to Picnic Island.Don’t go to the Lani Kai. There’s lots of places you can go out and boat around.”
Captain Stransky said he has been helping FWC patrol the waters for the last couple days. And he urges everyone planning to go out on the water to adhere to the new safety measures in place.
“All it does is take is that one person who has it, gets on a boat with 10 other people, then gives it to 10 other people. It’s that simple,” Stransky said.