MARION COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB)-- With the three day weekend, it's expected that residents across the region will be headed out onto area rivers and lakes, but that also means the Marion County Sheriff's Office will be out as well working to make sure everyone stays safe.
Marion County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Kinsey said there are a few things to keep in mind before heading out onto the water.
"Boating safety is number one. We want to make sure that everybody has enough life jackets on board for the number of people they're carrying and they're size appropriate. Children under six have to be wearing a life jacket while the boat is in motion and then that everybody has a good fire extinguisher, a sound producing device and their vessels registered,” Kinsey said.
And if residents don't follow the laws of the river, they can be given a citation.
"Be safe. Be careful. There's going to be a lot of boats out there. There's going to be some novice boater operators and experienced boat operators on the water, so I ask everybody to follow the rules and be safe,” Kinsey added.
MCSO deputies will be out on the Rainbow River, Silver River and Lake Weir this weekend.
Boaters must now follow CDC recommendations and all Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission regulations to sail lakes and rivers, including staying 50 feet away from other vessels.
Gatherings also can not exceed more than 10 people in and outside of a boat.
If boaters don't comply with the new guidelines, they may be asked to leave the park or lake or it could result in another closure.