MCSO safety reminders for those on water for Fourth of July weekend

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – This Fourth of July weekend is going to be a hot one! With people gearing up to hit the water, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has some safety reminders.

Hundreds of boaters are expected to be out riding the waves this weekend. The sheriff’s office says it will have officers keeping an eye out for reckless driving, speeding, boating while intoxicated, and even checking for life jackets. It says the water is just like a road or a highway, there are rules that have to be followed. Because the water will be packed with swimmers, boaters, and even jet skiers, sheriff’s deputies couldn’t stress enough to folks to be aware of their surroundings.

“The jet skies are kind of like motorcycles on the road, they’re fast they respond and turn on a dime, a lot of fun but it’s a lot of responsibility too whenever they’re being operated especially in proximity to other boats and people in the water,” Deputy John Whitehair said.

Officers say if they have to stop anyone they’ll do a "board the boat". Not physically jumping onto your boat but they’ll check for life jackets, one per person, safety equipment required by state law, like an anchor, fire extinguisher, flares, and a few more items. Officers say they’ll be watching for boating and drinking, which they say is the cause of the majority of accidents, some fatal. Sheriff’s deputies say they promote training to help ensure safety, some soon to be mandatory.

"To keep everyone in line we promote a boating safety course which will be mandatory it’s being phased in over a five-year period it called Brianna’s Law, and eventually by 2025 January 1 it’s going to be required that anyone operating a motor boat in NYS is certified to operate the boat,” Whitehair added.