KEY WEST, Fla. — The Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are ramping up safety inspections and fishery boardings, Wednesday, during the 2023 Lobster Mini Season along the Florida coast.
Coast Guard and FWC boarding team members will be patrolling coastal waters, conducting boardings to enforce the state and federal fishery laws and safety regulations during the short, but very popular fishing season.
The two-day recreational fishing season for spiny lobster in Florida starts at 12:01 a.m. on July 26. Boaters are reminded to check with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for regulations related to spiny lobster fishing.
The Coast Guard encourages boaters participating in Lobster Mini Season to:
- Ensure that engines are turned off if divers or swimmers are in the water and your engine cutoff switch is attached.
- Check all navigation lights prior to launching.
- Ensure that chart plotters, depth finders and other marine electronics are properly dimmed for low light viewing in order to preserve night vision.
- Wear your life jacket year round for all boating activities.
- Boat sober! The marine environment accelerates the effects of alcohol.
“Lobster Mini Season is a popular event and we want to make sure it’s as safe an event as possible,” said Scott Szczepaniak, the Seventh Coast Guard District Recreational Boating Safety Specialist. “One of the more common ways we’ve seen people get hurt is a result of spinning propellers. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that engines are off when people are in the water. Spinning props can be a hazard to life and limb even with a trained and experienced captain at the helm. The only safe engine is one that’s completely off.”
Any press inquiries can be directed to Mr. Scott Szczepaniak, the Coast Guard Seventh District Recreational Boating Safety Specialist, at Scott.J.Szczepaniak@uscg.mil or 843-327-9655.
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