1. #1
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    Post Water Rescue Operations

    Firefighters rescue man in Lemon Bay

    ENGLEWOOD, FL -- Putting their new rescue boat to good use, firefighters from the Englewood Area Fire Control District plucked a man from Lemon Bay early Monday.

    Assistant Chief Kirk Gaskell said firefighters answered a 12:36 a.m. call about a possible drowning off a dock at 1676 New Point Comfort Drive in Englewood.

    Firefighters Dino Fanti and Bryan Mosher said they found the man standing on his toes in chin-deep water south of the bridge and about 200 yards from the dock, Gaskell said. They pulled him onto the boat.

    The man's name was unavailable Monday.

    According to the incident report from the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, a friend, Teresa L. Black, said he jumped into the water and swam away from the dock.

    Black said the man, an Englewood resident, had been drinking and had been in an argument with another woman, his girlfriend, according to the report.

    When he swam out of sight and wouldn't respond to Black's calls, she dialed 911, according to the report.

    Sheriff's spokeswoman Sgt. Donna Black declined to identify the man, who was taken to the Crisis Stabilization Unit in Punta Gorda, one of Charlotte County's two mental health receiving facilities.

    Gaskell said it was the district's first save using its new 27-foot Carolina Skiff motorboat.

    Gaskell said that because of the water temperature and the fast currents, the man probably wouldn't have survived if the firefighters hadn't pulled him in.

    Story from http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?

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    Default Three dead in 2 weekend boating accidents

    Drunken powerboaters mar Columbus Day Regatta

    MIAMI, FL Hard drinking and boats continue to be a deadly combination on South Florida seas, despite stepped-up patrols during holiday weekends, crackdowns on drunken boating and efforts to increase safety awareness.

    Ultimately, the responsibility lies with boaters themselves, officials said Monday after the deaths of three people during the alcohol-fueled revelry that happens annually during the Columbus Day Regatta.

    "It's [boaters'] responsibility to be extra safe and extra cautious," said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Tony Russell.

    The powerboats involved in two deadly weekend crashes were among the throng that gathered over the weekend to watch the sailboat race. Authorities were investigating Monday whether a body found in Biscayne Bay was that of a man reported missing.

    The 28-foot powerboat he reportedly was on ran into some mangroves Sunday, killing another man on board. In the other incident, Carlos A. Perez was killed Saturday night during an accident while he was towing another boat. Police had not released the identities of the other dead men as of Monday evening.

    Although it is not known whether alcohol played a role in the deaths, alcohol is one of the factors being blamed for problems over the weekend, which included injuries, arrests and other incidents. Statewide, more boating deaths were attributed to alcohol use than any other cause last year. Alcohol use accounted for 13 of 48 fatal accidents in 2001, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    In Biscayne National Park last weekend, 17 people were arrested for boating under the influence, two were arrested for disorderly conduct, and hundreds of boating violations were cited, from not having enough life jackets to unsafe operation, said Gary Bremen, a park ranger at Biscayne National Park. Many boats ran aground, and one boat caught fire. Several people were hurt, including a person who got a 4-inch-deep cut to the leg from a boat propeller. About 20 lost swimmers were dropped off with park officials.

    The Columbus Day Regatta began almost 50 years ago, and historically a group of boaters was always on hand to greet the sailboat racers, Bremen said. That number of greeters grew over the years until they outnumbered the racers. Today, the atmosphere surrounding the sailing regatta is described as a zoo by race and national park officials, but they say the regatta is not to blame.

    "Many people out there think regatta is a synonym for party, don't know that regatta is a race," Bremen said. "The sailing regatta is not responsible for all the craziness that goes on out there."

    Larry Whipple, co-chairman of the regatta, said 180 boats raced from the north end of Biscayne Bay to East Featherbed Bank near Elliott Key on Saturday, anchored overnight, then raced in the other direction Sunday. None of the people on those boats was arrested or hurt.

    "They are there before we get there. They are there after we leave," Whipple said of the partygoers, estimated to be in the thousands. "I think everybody that knows us knows the zoo that goes on there has nothing to do with the sailing regatta."

    Park officials and regatta organizers have been trying to promote boat safety for years. One national park policy implemented in response to regatta-related festivities was limiting the number of boats that anchor tied to each other to five. Any group of boats tied to each other has to keep a distance of 75 feet from other boats, Bremen said.

    Patrols by different agencies also were stepped up and Biscayne National Park staff went to the marinas that empty into the park to hand out boat safety brochures. The Coast Guard was also on hand to prevent boats that did not have all the required safety equipment on board from leaving dock.

    Lt. Lee Palfrey of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said his agency has joined others in trying to educate boaters on the dangers of drinking and boating for a number of years through television spots, billboards and handouts. Their slogans include "Booze plus cruise equals lose" and "Don't drink and boat."

    This year's Columbus Day weekend was busier than the past few years, Bremen said. Bad weather dampened a few of the past long weekends, and the post-Sept. 11 crowds last year were also smaller. It was the first time there were deaths during the Columbus Day weekend activities since 1999, when a drunken boater killed a fellow boater after his sport fishing boat collided with an anchored vessel. The man had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit and was convicted of manslaughter.

    Most boaters also don't realize that drinking while operating a boat is actually more dangerous than drinking and driving because of the glare of the sun, lack of air conditioning and motion on the water, Palfrey said.

    "You're much more impaired on the water," he said. "It makes the effects of alcohol about three times what it is on land."

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/loc...me%2Dheadlines

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    Cool Boater swims for his life

    Boater Dives Into Water As Craft Bursts Into Flames

    DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. -- The Coast Guard responded to a boater in trouble after his vessel burst into flames today. The 35-foot craft (pictured) was engulfed in flames about five miles east of the Hillsboro inlet near Deerfield Beach. A passing boat picked up the man, who dove in the water to escape the flames. That man is now aboard a Coast Guard ship and appears to be uninjured. It's not yet clear what started the fire. The boat has sunk.

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