How to stay safe on the water this Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day Water00000000

Memorial Day is is the kickoff for summer on Lake Tuscaloosa. Having fun is of course important, but nothing trumps safety. Tuscaloosa Police Officer Wes Hollingsworth let WVUA 23 News tag along with him ahead of this holiday weekend to learn some of the most common mistakes people make.

“Common sense just like on anything else goes a long way,” Hollingsworth said. “Just pay attention would be number one. Pay attention to your surroundings. It is a smaller area with that many people, then accidents are going to happen. If everyone would just pay attention to their surroundings, that would eliminate a lot of accidents.”

Senior Trooper Freddie Ingram will also patrol Lake Tuscaloosa this weekend. Here are his tips to keep you and your family safe if you’re hitting the water.

“I would ask that you keep a proper lookout,” Ingram said. “Instead of worrying about everything that is going on on your boat, make sure that you have somebody that is watching outside the boat. Lake Tuscaloosa is becoming congested. There’s a lot of traffic on it as well as on the river. So, make sure you’ve got somebody watching. Keep a good lookout so see if anybody is coming toward you and make sure that if anyone falls in the water you have somebody who can spot them. ”

Law enforcement approximate at least 750 boats will be on Lake Tuscaloosa at any given time this weekend. That means at least 1,500 people on the water. That’s a lot of people and a lot of boats to looks out for.

“You have to be present,” Hollingsworth said. “You just have to make your presence known. You have to be present. You have to stay out there, enforce any safety laws. The more they see you out there, the more they will stop the violations and also the more other citizens who are concerned will call and let us know.”

Remember to obey all rules of the waterways, just like you would the roadways. Driving on the water is much like driving on the road. There are right and wrong sides to drive on.
Reckless driving, drinking and driving, and speeding are all illegal on the water too.

We caught up with the Patton family who was getting ready to set sail on Lake Tuscaloosa for a fun filled weekend.

“I’m so excited to be on the lake for Memorial Day Weekend,” Mckenzie Patton said.

“We are a real close family,” Kirk Patton said. “We would hate to lose someone because of somebody being crazy or acting crazy. So we would just like for everyone to try to watch what they were doing and pay attention to what is around you.”

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