Stay safe this 4th of July holiday

(WTVM) - Georgia's West Point Lake will become a popular destination as the 4th of July approaches.

Over 500 camp sites will be occupied this weekend, while thousands more will participate in lake festivities.

"The biggest issue we have is absent-minded boat usage out here and we need everyone to make sure your boat is in good operable order, you have all your safety equipment so you can come out here, have a great time, but also stay safe," explains West Point Lake U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Park Ranger, Rocky Millenbine.

In 2012, the U.S. Coast Guard reported over 4,500 accidents on the water that involved 650 deaths.

West Point has had 101 drowning's since 1975, but officials are determined to not let that number get any higher.

"I'm going to make sure kids have their life jackets on, that people are operating in a safe manor, especially close to other boats, swimmers and skiers," says Millenbine.

Alcohol is a favorite of many for holiday celebrations, but factor in boat motion, engine noise and the sun and a drinker's impairment is accelerated.

"We're playing it safe on the water. I'm the one drinking, but my driver is not, so keep it safe and have a good time," states one West Point Lake visitor.

"Keep that in mind not to lose control when you've consumed too much alcohol, keep an even temper because there will be a lot of people out here," says Millenbine.

Nationally, there is more than $35 million in damages due to fireworks each year.

Be sure to keep a fire extinguisher or a hose handy in case of a mishap.

"The only fireworks allowed are going to be shot off by Troup County, by the firefighters here locally, so we don't want people shooting off fireworks inside the camp grounds and we do that for injury purposes, we don't want anyone to get hurt," explains Millenbine. The West Point Lake fireworks show will take place Thursday evening at Pine Road Park.

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