Marine police on high alert at Lake Martin

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

KOWALIGA, AL (WSFA) - Just hours into 4th of July weekend and already a steady stream of boats in and out of Lake Martin.

"We had to be real careful because it was rough.  There are a lot of boats out there today," says Shane Adams.

Adams says by 4:00 Friday afternoon, he could tell Lake Martin was in for a hectic weekend.

"Being the big holiday, it's going to start up being busy tomorrow," he says.

Marine police say the lake is always hopping come 4th of July, but this year there's another reason why.

"There's a lot of talk about people coming to the lake instead of going to the gulf," says Sgt. Gary Buchanan with the Alabama Marine Police.

Rental agents say their properties are completely booked--due largely to gulf coast traffic.

According to one realtor, July rentals are already up 30% over this time last year.

And with more people on the water "the chances of some sort of bad accident always goes up," adds Buchanan.

That's why police are warning gulf coasters that conditions on the lake are different.

"The waves aren't as predictable. On the gulf, they're coming all in the same direction to the beach.  Here, they're going all kind of different directions because the water gets all chopped up with the boat action along with the wind," says Buchanan.

The Adams family noticed.

"When the wind gets up like this too, it makes it a little more choppier too," says Shane.

That's why they're not skimping when it comes to their children's safety.

"Accidents happen easy. We make sure they keep their life jackets on."

Marine police say they're patrolling all weekend keeping their eyes out for any unsafe activity.

Here's a checklist if you're headed to the lake:

--Make sure you have a life jacket for every person in your boat.

--Children 8 and under must wear one at all times.

--Anyone skiing, tubing, or driving a jet ski must wear one.

--Make sure you have a boating license to drive a boat.

--If you'll be on the water for the fireworks show Sunday make sure your boat lights are working.

--Take a flashlight and extra bulbs just in case.

Marine police say if you happen to have an emergency out on the water, just call 911.

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