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Marine Patrols out keeping boaters safe on the Fourth of July

Posted at 7:02 PM, Jul 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-04 19:02:54-04

With no toxic algae to worry about, Cody Johnson is ready to head out from Sandsprit Park Tuesday.  He knows he’s responsible for the safety of his passengers.

“I trust myself.  I trust people I’m with and who I take care of.  You just got to be cautious," said Johnson.

His boat is one of many cruising the maritime highways.

“There's a lot of congestion, a lot of traffic, a lot of people enjoying the water," said Deputy Mike Joseph with the Martin County Sheriff's Office.

It’s a busy stretch for Deputy Joseph who’s watching for any potential safety violations.

“You want to have right amount of life jackets on the vessel. Flares. If you’re out at night, you want to make sure your navigational lights work," said Deputy Joseph.

One thing the sheriff’s office is cracking down on this holiday weekend is underage drinking.  Last week, 9 kids were arrested.  Midday Tuesday, two kids were picked up at the Tequesta sandbar.

“We’re going to try and combat underage drinking by doing a lot of ID checks… with vessel safety checks as well," said Deputy Joseph.

Through the early part of Tuesday and a spin through the Stuart Sandbar, no citations were issued here, but a call came in for a completely different kind of problem.  There was a vessel sunk off the North Fork of the St. Lucie River.  The owner of the boat waking to find his vessel underwater leaking about 20 gallons of fuel. Deputy Joseph called out a cleanup crew, and then it’s back out on the water for the rest of the long, hot afternoon.

“If everybody follows the rules, you’ll have a good time on the water.  We’re happy. You’re happy.”