Marine Unit rewarding responsible boaters

Patrols says no BUI arrests made this weekend

Tampa Bay - Pulling out from the Davis Island boat dock, it's the pride of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Marine Unit.

Deputy Paul Shute captains a 40-foot Intrepid around Tampa Bay.

"Lets people know that we are keeping an eye on things. They'll think twice about indulging in alcohol to excess."

Memorial Day is a busy weekend on the water, with hundreds of boaters out. But so far Shute says people are behaving and are getting the message about the dangers of boating under the influence. They haven't made any arrests.

"That's why the number of crashes is down, BUI's, if you are impaired we are doing to take you to jail and arrest you," said Shute.

Shute and and his first mate Deputy Tim Lundy watch over the Alafia River, Paradise Island, the Williams Park boat launch and the always busy Beer Can Island..

If you are going too fast in a no wake zone, you'll get the whistle.

If you are on an island that's off-limits, you'll be told to move. "This is the Audubon Society, so pack your stuff up ok."

But the Marine Unit is really keying on the use of life jackets.

"That's not acceptable for a jet ski, if she falls off that will break her neck," Shute tells one girl.

They've seen too many people die because they weren't wearing one.

"Simple fix, avoidable tragedy."

Throughout the weekend, they've been pulling over several boats, not to write a ticket, but to thank parents for making sure their kids are wearing life jackets.

"It takes a responsible parent to do that, and we'd like to give her a little gift."

The gift is a T-shirt for children. A good reminder that any child under six always has to have the life jacket on...

"We are out here to make sure they are safe, that's the most important thing."
 

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