SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Harbor Police Department has a new warning for those planning to celebrate Fourth of July along the water.
Harbor Police patrolled the waters Tuesday educating boaters about new rules ahead of the holiday as they will be on the lookout for speeders, DUI drivers and any reckless activity on the waters.
“Making sure people have the education they need to operate their vessels correctly, safely,” Harbor police officer Haley Ferrer said.
Officers want to remind boaters that there is a new “California Boater Card” requirement this year: anyone 45 years or younger must have that card to drive a boat. Also, anyone under 13 years old is required to have a life jacket onboard a vessel unless they are inside an enclosed cabin.
Officers says they are seeing an increase in illegal charters and jet ski accidents ahead of the holiday. Police expect around 300,000 to 500,000 people to come out to the Big Bay Boom fireworks show on July 4.
“In the off chance that there’s a rescue, maybe someone falls off their boat or there’s some kind of collision, we want to make sure those people are taken care of and given aid as quickly as possible,” Ferrer said.
They patrolled the waters reminding the community to plan ahead to avoid some of the same problems they saw last year.
“Last year, we were so busy. We arrested maybe three to four people for being drunk in public throughout tidelands. We did have one rescue throughout National City for a vessel that ran aground,” Lt. Victor Bañuelos said. “They had a 1-year-old baby that we had to go and help rescue because they couldn’t spend the night there.”
Officers are also reminding boaters to stay at least 1,000 feet away from the barges carrying the fireworks for the Big Bay Boom show.