LARGO - As part of the annual Memorial Day safety campaign, Pinellas County deputies will maintain a high profile on the waterways and roadways to help ensure a safe holiday for citizens and visitors.
The holiday weekend begins Friday night, May 24, and continues until midnight on Monday, May 27.
Patrol deputies will be on the lookout for impaired drivers and ask that motorists exercise patience and caution on the busy roadways.
The Sheriff’s marine unit and environmental lands unit will also be highly visible this weekend promoting boating safety and protecting the community and environment from the great volume of vessel traffic. They will be enforcing state, federal and local laws on the waterways.
Vessel safety equipment inspections will be conducted on all vessels stopped, and operators observed for alcohol and drug impairment. It is illegal to be impaired while operating a vessel.
The purpose of the enforcement effort is to reduce or eliminate injuries and deaths associated with holiday traffic and boating crashes in Pinellas County.
In addition, marine and ELU deputies will conduct “Operation Kid-Float,” a life jacket loaner and boating safety awareness program for children. The Marine Unit recommends that all children wear a personal flotation device while underway and that PFD’s be readily accessible to all occupants of a vessel.
PFD’s are available to the public on a loaner basis. The jackets may be picked up at four locations:
• Don’s Dock located at 215 128th Avenue East in Madeira Beach (on John’s Pass).
• John Chestnut Park located at 2200 East Lake Road S. in Palm Harbor.
• Dunedin City Marina located at 51 Main Street in Dunedin.
• Fort De Soto Boat Ramp located at 3500 Pinellas Bayway S. in Tierra Verde
Deputies will also have PFD’s on board and will hand them out as needed following boat safety equipment inspections. Citizens are to return the loaner PFD’s after their voyage at the PCSO Marine Facility drop-off bin located at 19305 Gulf Blvd. in Indian Shores.