FWC warning divers about proper flags on boats

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officers are the police of the sea.

Sunday they coasted up and down the coast in their boat looking for boaters violating the law.

"That's our first violation right there," Lt. Dave Bingham said.

A red flag was flying from the boat Lt. Bingham stopped.

It signaled that divers were in the water, but something was missing.

"Tell me what's wrong with your flag," Lt. Bingham said to the professional spear fisherman who was the captain on the boat.

"We don't have a stiffener," the captain said.

"You don't have a stiffener," Lt. Bingham said. "That's a violation right there."

It's a violation because if it wasn't windy outside, the flag signaling divers are in the water would hang straight down.

Lt. Bingham causes boats not to see the flag.

It's a violation Lt. Bingham said he sees often and 80 percent of the time it's divers making the mistake.

"It's actually their lives that are at stake," Lt. Bingham said. "They want to do everything possible to make sure that they're flying the flag properly so people can actually recognize what it is if you're a passing boater."

Another boat FWC stopped on the waters has too small of a flag flying.

"So we should have a bigger one of the boat," the boater said.

"Yes, it should be 20 by 24," Lt. Bingham told the boater.

The boater said they would get a bigger one, but while Lt. Bingham was warning the boater with the small flag other officers on board noticed a different violation.

"Where's your dive flag," Lt. Bingham asked a boater from Wellington.

"I didn't bring one today," the boater said to Lt. Bingham.

"Why is that," Lt. Bingham replied.

"Well, I forgot it in the garage," the boater responded.

The Wellington boater didn't think he needed a dive flag since his friends from Arizona were just swimming by the boat.

Lt. Bingham said the boat needed to have a flag flying because the swimmers had snorkels on and were underwater.

"If other boats come through here and jet skis come through here at any time one of your snorkels with their head down in the water could get hit," Lt. Bingham said.

An accident FWC wants to prevent all summer long, which is why they cracked down on flag violators all weekend.

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