Law enforcement takes to the waterways for Fourth of July safety campaign

Law enforcement takes to the waterways for Fourth of July safety campaign

EUFAULA, Ala. (WTVM) - Georgia and Alabama law enforcement agencies share details of a boating under the influence (BUI) awareness and enforcement campaign.

In the past few months, many people across the state of Alabama have been enjoying the state’s lakes, rivers, and other waterways, especially compared to this time last year.

“There are thousands more on the waterways,” said Michael Weathers of Alabama’s Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Law Enforcement Section.

Officials are also expecting a big turnout for the Fourth of July weekend.

If you’re heading out to the water in the next few days, they’re urging you to be safe and to make smart decisions.

“We want to ensure everyone has a good time on our waterways in the state of Alabama,” said Chief Steve Thompson of ALEA’s Marine Patrol. “But at the end of the day, we want people to go home to their families.”

To ensure you safely have a good time, officials want you to remember the importance of life vests and the dangers of distracted boating. One point they really emphasize is under no circumstances should you boat under the influence.

“You will not get a warning on the water,” said Col. Thomas Barnard of the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources. “My words today are the only warning you will get. Make the smart decision and boat sober.”

According to officials, if you don’t boat sober, you could face penalties like fines, jail time, or losing boating or driving privileges.

And it could also lead to loss of life.

Officials said alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents across the country; each of these deaths makes a lasting impact on families.

“Any accident is tragic,” Thompson said.

“You go from the best time in the world to the absolute worst time in the world,” C Barnard said.

Law enforcement said the Fourth of July is a time for celebration, but through some simple steps that celebration can be enjoyed safely.

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