ALEA shares safety tips ahead of Memorial Day weekend

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 4:40 PM EDT
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ALABAMA (WTVM) - The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Marine Patrol is warning boaters to be careful during Memorial Day weekend. This year on Lake Martin, ALEA has been out to 37 boat accidents, with four of those resulting in deaths.

During Memorial Day weekend, a growth of concern takes place on the roads and in lakes as hundreds gather for the holiday weekend.

“This Memorial Day weekend, we do want everyone to drive to arrive. We want to be safe,” said Senior Trooper Kendra Mckinney.

According to ALEA, in 2020, ten boat crashes and two drownings took place during Memorial Day weekend and seven traffic fatalities in 2021.

“For the fiscal year so far, we’ve had 37 boat crashes, four of those resulting in fatalities,” said Senior Trooper Corey Robinett.

Of those crashes, four were caused by drinking and driving.

“So about one drink is equivalent to three when you’re in the water, so you want to avoid drinking and driving the boat,” said Senior Trooper Marshall Westbook.

Senior Trooper Marshall Westbrook said it’s important to have five items before getting on your boat.

One, life Jackets. All children under the age of 8 must always wear one. Two, a throwable device in case of an emergency. Three, a sounding device

“You’re going to want to make sure that when you’re driving that you have the red kill switch attached to you…you can attach that to your life jacket or anywhere on your clothing…and then you want to make sure you have a good standard type B US coast guard approved Fire Extinguisher… in case you have a fire emergency on your vessel,” said Westbrook.

When boating at night, check to ensure all navigation lights are working, drive at a slower speed and do not venture into unfamiliar areas.

“My highway patrol division and marine patrol will be heavier presence in the waterways and roadways because we want to make sure we are enforcing our traffic laws and ensuring everyone is being safe,” said Mckinney.