BOATING SAFETY TIPS FOR MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
Memorial Day weekend is in full gear, folks are firing up the grill and hitting Lake Tuscaloosa. That’s why we want to make sure you’re staying safe out on the water this weekend.
WVUA 23’s Yostina Banoub spoke with seasoned boater, Danny Evans, who has been boating for about thirty years now.
“We’re now on our third boat, my youngest son Grant and I own this boat together,” said Evans.
He gave us some great tips to stay safe and have fun at the same time this holiday weekend.
Before hitting the lake, make sure your boat meets all Marine Patrol safety requirements.
“Some of the things you must have from a safety standpoint is a life preserver for everybody on board, even children,” Evans said. “You also have to have a fire extinguisher. Certain boats require a safety device that you can throw to somebody in need.”
It’s always a good idea to take a boating safety class, Evans said.
“if you’re not familiar with boating, you run across people that purchase a boat that have never been exposed to boating and they get out here and and they put themselves in harm’s way,” he said.
If you’re going to consume alcohol while boating, Evans recommends doing it in moderation. The combination of heavy drinking and the hot sun can be dangerous. And always watch out for other boaters.
“Be courteous to other boaters don’t get to close, if you see somebody in the water, somebody skiing, riding a wakeboard something like that, give them plenty of room, you’re supposed to do that, it’s required by law but you certainly want to be courteous of other people on the water.”
Evans talks about some of the most dangerous things he’s seen out on the Lake.
“Speeding, not observing the buoys, there’s a lot of no wake buoys meaning that you’re supposed to run idle speed.”
Finally, be aware of electric docks that might cause electric shock drowning.
This year, two women died from electrocution while spending the day at a family lake house on Lake Tuscaloosa.
Last year on Smith Lake, 15-year-old Carmen Johnson was electrocuted when an electric current traveled to their families dock and into the water as she was climbing a metal ladder.
Now, Carmen’s parents are making sure others know about her story.
Carmen’s father Jimmy Johnson said he and his son also felt electricity when they jumped in to help.
“I think that’s part of the reason I’m still here, that I made it out of the water that day, is to be able to go out here and spread this word so maybe people will get their docks safe,” said Johnson.
Johnson has been going from dock to dock dropping zip lock bags filled with his daughter’s story and safety tips. Advocates of dock safety including Johnson urge people to get their docks checked frequently.
Remember, you are also required to have a separate driving license to operate a boat or personal watercraft.
For more information on rules and regulations, visit alea.gov.
Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend!