News Releases

National Safe Boating Week off to tragic start

News Release

Monday, May 24, 2010

Media contact: Gary Morse, 863-648-3200

Adrian Flores-Cerros and three friends went out for a fun day of fishing and joy riding on Eagle Lake, a popular destination for Polk County boaters.  Sadly for Flore-Cerros (D.O.B. 09/08/86) of 3384 Royal Oak Drive North, Mulberry, it was his final destination.

The overloaded, 14-foot boat was near the middle of the 647-acre lake at around 2:30 p.m. on May 23, when a wave suddenly swamped and sank the vessel.  The boat was equipped with a 25-horsepower outboard motor.  What the boat wasn't equipped with is of greater significance.  There were only two life jackets on board.  One of the life jackets was not in serviceable condition, and the vessel had no signaling device as required by law.  Unrelated to the accident, there was no fire extinguisher either.

"Failure to exercise sound judgment is all too often the main factor leading to recreational boating deaths," said Capt. Humberto Navarro, regional law enforcement investigations supervisor for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

FWC officers and Polk County Sheriff's deputies in boats searched the lake Sunday afternoon, hoping to find Flores-Cerros alive.  Helicopters from both agencies aided in the search.  The Polk County Sheriff's Office dive team found and recovered the body of Flores-Cerros at about 8:30 p.m.

Navarro urged boaters to always wear a life jacket, never overload a boat, maintain a proper lookout and never use alcohol or drugs while operating a boat.

For more information about boating safety from the FWC, visit MyFWC.com/Boating or call the FWC's regional office in Lakeland at 863-648-3200.



FWC Facts:
Remember, both federal and state laws require the use of navigation lights from sunset to sunrise.

Learn More at AskFWC