U.S Coast Guard wants to ensure a safe Memorial Day weekend

Secretary Mark Belton speaking on boating and water safety at a press conference at Sandy Point State Park

Secretary Mark Belton speaking on boating and water safety at a press conference at Sandy Point State Park

Before stepping on a boat the Coast Guard said all children under 13-years-old are required to wear a life jacket at all time. "They are there to remind everyone to operate their vehicles safely, but there is also personal responsibility in keeping you and your family safe".

To make sure everyone stays safe this weekend, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Conservation Officers will be checking boaters. Make sure you have enough gas.

"Wearing your life vest, don't drink while you're boating, watch what you're doing on the water".

In support of National Safe Boating Week, Alabama Power's Shorelines blog will bring daily safety tips from its Lake Safety Resource Guide. "We just want to be out here and stress that, if they need us we're here, but if you're on the water this weekend, you're going to get checked".

Natural Resource Officers said on boats 18 feet or smaller, all children under the age of 10 must wear a fastened life jacket at all times.

"On a busy weekend like this, make sure your boat is running properly". They also offer virtual online safety checks as well. You've got to think before you get on that boat. "Make sure that your boat is registered and make sure that your lights work before you leave, especially if you're going to be coming back after dark". Make sure that your family and friends aren't part of this statistic by assigning and fitting each member of your onboard team with a life jacket prior to departure. Last year, there were not any boating-related fatalities over the holiday weekend for the second consecutive year.

Officers said while OH allows Coast Guard approved life jackets at the beach, the state bans "floaties" and inflatable rafts to discourage parents from relying on devices to protect them from the dangers of drowning. Heed the boat's capacity plate on the transom or by the helm, or look up the passenger capacity in the boat's manual.

"You can call us on channel 16 if there's an emergency. You want to try to be a courteous boater".

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