ALEA Marine Patrol Preparing for “Massive” Memorial Day
Law enforcement marine patrol officers are preparing for what they say is their busiest holiday of the year: Memorial Day. The holiday is often referred to as the “unofficial” start of summer. And it’s a time when thousands are expected to head to Alabama’s lakes, rivers, and beaches.
That includes Lake Martin in Alexander City, where several boating accidents happened last year.
2019 turned out to be the deadliest year on Alabama’s waters in decades with about 29 deaths reported.
“It’s anybody’s guess what contributed to that. Alcohol was a factor in many of those crashes,” Lieutenant Mark Fuller of ALEA’s Marine Patrol Division said.
Fuller says all officers available to work will be out patrolling the waters this Memorial Day weekend.
“The main concern is just the number of boats that’s going to be out here at any given time,” Fuller said.
Fuller is encouraging all boaters to obey state laws.
“Stay a safe distance away from the other boaters. Practice a designated operator system, where the operator of the vessel is not drinking alcohol,” Fuller said.
You should also make sure there is a sufficient number of life jackets available for everyone on board. Children under 8 years old are required to wear one.
“You never know when tragedy is going to strike, when unexpected things will occur. Just be prepared,” Fuller said.
If you’re planning to boat at night, Fuller says all equipment, including your lights, need to be in working order.
“Make sure they’re in the position they’re required to be in so that they can be seen, particularly the stern light. 360 degrees around the vessel,” Fuller said.
Fuller recommends that you limit the number of people allowed on your boat so that coronavirus social distancing guidelines can be maintained.