Troopers: Don’t drink, use caution while boating

Published 1:11 am Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Day weekend is typically one of the busiest and most enjoyable days on Alabama’s many waterways but can be dangerous as well, especially alcohol-related accidents.

Alabama State Trooper spokesperson Kevin Cook emphasized the need for all boaters in Alabama to know boater laws and follow these laws to have a safe, fun weekend.

“If you are going to be traveling on the waterways in Alabama, then you need to be an informed boater,” Cook said. “An informed boater is a safe boater. You need to know the boating laws for the state and that will help keep you and your passengers safe.”

Cook said that the most important rule to follow while operating a boat is to simply not drink and drive.

“Drinking and operating a boat is very dangerous,” he said. “Each year innocent people are injured or killed in drinking-related incidents on the water. If a boater is so impaired that they can no longer operate a boat, the marine patrol will arrest that person and they will be fined and possibly receive jail time. There will be zero tolerance for that.”

Cook said that one important fact to know is that all boaters in Alabama are required to have properly operating life vests, flotation devices and fire extinguishers in a boat at all times.

“We had a lot of fatal boating incidents in the last year in the state and in some cases had the person been simply wearing a life vest they would have survived the incident,” Cook said. “Just putting on a life vest could increase your chances of survival greatly, if you are in a boating incident.”

Cook also said that many issues that occur on the water can be avoided by following simple courtesies, like not going unnecessarily fast or throwing off wake in a “No Wake” zone.

“If you see a buoy that says “no wake” on it, then that’s exactly what it means: no wake,” he said. “Don’t throw off a bunch of wake, just idle through the zone.”