HEADING TO THE LAKE FOR THE FOURTH? BE SAFE OUT THERE

Lake Tuscaloosa

Many people head to the water for July 4. Marine police do, too.

They’re out there ensuring people on the water are staying safe as well as having a good time.

Boating is a blast if you know what you’re doing and obey the simple and easy to follow rules.

“Here on Lake Tuscaloosa, everyone needs to remember that alcohol is not allowed,” said Charles Ballard with the Tuscaloosa Police Department. “Open containers are not allowed, and also there’s no alcohol on any part of the lake that’s designated as park.”

Alcohol is permitted in boats on most Alabama lakes as long as the driver isn’t drinking.

Ballard said lakes will be more crowded than usual this weekend, and that’s another reason you should be vigilant.

“On the Fourth of July there’s always a lot of boat traffic on this lake,” Ballard said. “More than what people are used to. We ask everybody to slow down, pay attention to your surroundings. Be aware of swimmers in the water, be aware of boats coming up beside you, behind you, in front of you. And, one of the main traffic laws we’d like you to remember is stay to the right when you’re meeting another boat.”

Here’s a little refresher if you’re a bit rusty on boat safety:

  • Have life jackets for everyone on the boat
  • If you’ll be out in the evening, make sure your lights work
  • If you’re pulling someone behind your boat, someone must be keeping an eye on them

“Just please use common sense,” Ballard said. “Be courteous. Watch for boats. Be a defensive driver.”

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