Gasparilla boat safety - WFLA News Channel 8

Gasparilla boat safety

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission along with other agencies will be patrolling the waters to make sure people use safe boating practices. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission along with other agencies will be patrolling the waters to make sure people use safe boating practices.

Before the pirates invade Tampa -- and before the parade rolls down Bayshore -- a huge flotilla of private boats will surround the pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, begging for beads.

It's a fun filled day on the water, but it can also be difficult for boaters.

Officer Baryl Martin from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has seen the invasion before. "Make sure you have a safe operator. I know there is going to be a lot of drinking, a lot of partying, a lot of people on boats having a good time. We're not here to be anybodies party police. We're here to make sure everybody has a good time and stays safe."

Officer Matthew Dallarosa of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation will also be on patrol during Gasparilla. "It's an interesting event for us. It's obviously a lot of people in a very small area and anyone that's been in that area knows there's a lot of vessel traffic, all trying to get to the same event," says Dallarosa.

Last year, officer Dallarosa says he witnessed a near-disaster with a boat owner, just after he pulled the vessel over. Dallarosa says, "As I asked him to exit the tower he fell completely out of the tower. He ultimately ended up being a BUI suspect and he ended up being arrested for BUI, but that was the first indication for me that this individual was impaired."

Boating under the influence is similar to driving under the influence in some, but not all respects. Officer Bryan Beeler with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation says, "It's extremely similar in that .08 is the legal limit. The difference is, you are allowed to operate a boat with an open container. There is nothing that says that you can't do that.  The problem that we see is they don't know when to stop and they don't know what their limit is."

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