KOWALIGA, AL (WSFA) - As the heat rises, the allure of a day on the water is sometimes difficult to pass up.
"It's not that crowded. The water's not as rough as when it really gets crowded out here," said Terry Bice of Alexander City.
In fact, thousands of people come to places like Lake Martin every year. That's where officers like Mark Fuller come in, one of two Alabama Marine Police patrolmen working on the lake.
"It's close to several high school and college campuses, and the lake is a big draw for [the students]," Fuller explained.
Patrolling the lake is a tough job. Already, eight people have died on the water this year in Alabama.
Fuller says it's all about playing it safe.
"Seven of those eight people who have already lost their lives weren't wearing a life jacket, and if they had been, they would have had a larger possibility of survival," Fuller said.
Personal flotation devices are key, as are fire extinguishers, floating throw cushions, and current registration. A full equipment check, say police, is essential.
"We have first aid kits on boat, we've got everything just in case there's a problem," said David Hudmon of Opelika.
It's a safe mindset to have, especially as the waterways become crowded.
"People just, for whatever reason, they don't heed the warning, and it costs them their lives," Fuller said.
Marine Police are also closely monitoring the waters for impaired boaters. While the rules for drinking and boating are much different than those on the road, authorities say they'll continue to crack down on drunk operators.