TAMPA, Fla. — This weekend kicks off National Boating Safety Week. It couldn’t come at a better time here in Tampa Bay after two recent area tragedies on the water.


Late last month, a three-year-old boy drowned near Snead Island when fell of a kayak into the water. 

Less than a week later, a 32-year-old kayaker drowned under the Gandy Bridge after his kayak capsized. 

“We are the boating capital of the world,” says Officer Ashley Tyer with FWC. “Florida also leads the nation with nearly one million registered vessels, which unfortunately means FWC is responding to far too many tragic boating accidents that could've been prevented.”

We went out on Tampa Bay with FWC officers who were checking to make sure boaters were carrying the proper safety equipment. Those we saw stopped and checked told us safety isn’t an option for them. 

“You never know what's going to happen," said boater Christopher Barthel. “Things can change instantaneously, so one minute everything can be perfectly fine and the next minute somebody can be overboard, so you're going to have to be ready for all that.”

All children ages six and under are required by law to wear a life jacket in vessels 26 feet in length or shorter.

For more information on boating safety, visit www.myfwc.com.