With the weather warming the Marion County Sheriff's Office is seeing an increase in the use of our waterways. With the increase in usage come some obvious safety concerns for our boaters and swimmers. 

One disturbing trend is an increase in abandoned boats being set adrift in our rivers. These boats cause an immediate hazard to swimmers and boaters but they also draw an emergency response from law enforcement and fire officials. 

According to Marine Patrol sergeant Shane Burnham, "We have to treat these incidents like an emergency; it could be a boater in distress." 

Because of the drain these incidents place on resources and the cost to tax payers, the Sheriff's Office would like to take the time and remind the public to discard their old boats appropriately. Sergeant Burnham suggests calling your local auto recycler for assistance. If you are caught setting a boat adrift with the intent to abandon it on the waterway, you could be charged with a crime.