ALEA talks boating safety ahead of Labor Day weekend

Updated: Aug. 30, 2019 at 6:01 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - So far, it’s been a deadly year on Alabama’s waterways with 28 fatalities.

Six of those fatalities happened over the Fourth of July weekend. To keep that number from rising, marine police with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) are reminding the public of some important safety tips to keep in mind this holiday weekend.

“The number of fatalities we have had so far should be a wake up call to all boaters,” Lt. Mark Fuller, with ALEA’s Marine Patrol Division, said. “Just pay attention and be courteous. Stay a safe distance from all boats, all the other boats that are out there, all the docks that are on the shoreline. Stay out on the open water, and stay clear of everybody. Again, have a sober operator that’s capable of making good, sound decisions while behind the wheel.”

Fuller said if you do plan on going to the lake this Labor Day weekend, expect to see an increase in boating traffic and marine police.

“We’re going to be out looking for careless and reckless behavior on the part of the boat operator and their passengers," Fuller said. “We just want to be there for visibility and be seen. Hopefully, that will deter some of the recklessness that may occur.”

Marine police will also be out in force looking for boaters under the influence.

“Yes, you can have alcohol on a boat, but the operator needs to remain sober. We’ve had 28 fatalities on the waterways this year. In a vast majority of those accidents, alcohol was a contributing factor," Fuller said.

According to Fuller, marine police have a zero-tolerance policy for boating under the influence.

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