By Jordyn Elston | WSFA
With Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, a lot of people make plans to get out on the water, and while it sounds like a fun idea there are precautions that you should take.
“Memorial Day is typically our busiest summer weekend. It even exceeds Fourth of July weekend,” said ALEA Marine Patrol Lt. Mark Fuller.
With so many people expected to be out on the water, safety is ALEA’s number one priority.
“Have one life jacket per person on the boat as required by law. If the children are under the age of eight, they’re required to have a life jacket on at all times when they’re on a boat. If you plan to drink on board your boat, make sure there’s a sober driver,” Lt. Fuller said. “On the waterways its just like being on the highway, you’re supposed to stay on the right side of the channel and you’re supposed to pass other boats and stay to the right. Use common courtesy. It will go a long way, and it will more than likely prevent tragedy from occurring on this Memorial Day weekend.”
Lt. Fuller said that for anyone that is bringing their boat out for the first time this summer, it’s important to do an inspection before you get on the water.
“Make sure all your lights are working properly and your fuses, hoses, and belts are all in good condition. If you’re going to be out after sunset, navigation lights are required,” Lt. Fuller said.
In addition to following regular safety protocols that should always be taken, social distancing guidelines should also be followed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We’re going to encourage everybody to maintain that 6-foot safety zone. If you’re on a boat that has a capacity of 12 or 14, you may want to pull that back to five or six so you can maintain that six feet between people,” Lt. Fuller said.
All available Marine Patrol will be working this holiday weekend.
If you plan on drinking alcohol while you fish, rest or sit on your boat, marine patrol says it’s important to know where you are because not all the lakes have the same rules.