Expect increased patrols on water ways

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's that time of year where water ways in Georgia and Alabama are filling up fast.

This hot holiday weekend will be no exception.

Marine police say they will have a strong presence on Lake Harding all weekend.

But, boaters out on the water Friday said they feel their safety comes down to one thing – being alert.

"Watch yourself and watch out for others, it is good to be defensive when you are on a boat," said Ginny Lawrence.  "Watch where you are going, watch your surroundings, know what is around you at all times," said David Houser.

Jay Syfrett agrees. He has lived on the lake for over 50 years.  He believes the new texting law in Georgia should count for boaters too.  "They really need to put those phones down and pay attention to what they are doing on the river.  Whoever is going to be the captain needs to do that and look after everyone," explained Syfrett.

The Corp of Engineers and Marine Police are sending a warning to people out on the water for the fourth – "Know and follow the 'rules of the road'" and, if you are out past dark to enjoy fireworks make sure you use your navigation lights.

The consumption of alcohol on the water is not prohibited, but it does make some people nervous, "There are boats everywhere and some people that may not be quite as used to driving a boat… and then with alcohol involved. Yeah, it is a concern."

Also, remember that each person on the boat must have a life jacket.

Ginny Lawrence has kids and she goes the extra mile to keep her kids safe.  "We have two small kids.  They always have life jackets on, in the boat, or out of the boat, even on our dock. Even if they are on the deck, they are wearing their life jacket."

Increased patrols will begin Friday night and will last through Monday.  Authorities ask that if you see someone boating recklessly, that you contact them immediately.

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