ADCNR promotes boater safety, awareness

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 8, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; As the summer heat increases so, too, does the number of boaters on Lake Demopolis looking for recreation, catching some rays and getting in the water.

With the migration towards the river beginning among the residents of the area, the chances of boating accidents tend to increase. To ensure the safety of individuals out on the water, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources&8217; (ADCNR) Alabama Marine Police division has taken to bodies of water to remind people to follow regulations that come with boating licenses.

The ADCNR has also posted a checklist for individuals taking to the water to remind them of the most prevalent mistakes seen that lead to problems. Some of its biggest hints on the checklist are also some things that marine police officer for the area Pat Oliver stresses to boaters he comes across: Drive defensively, check safety equipment, be aware and don&8217;t drink and drive.

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Oliver says the biggest thing he patrols the water for is the condition of the operating of the vessel. He said the problem can compound itself and lead to the harm of others, which bumps it to his top priority.

He also said the increase in drinking and operator isn&8217;t limited to adults either, as he has also seen an increase in underage drinking and driving. He said to curb this trend he has talked with the circuit clerk about beginning more arrests for those contributing to underage drinking.

Other hints Oliver has to improve safety deal with checking equipment and being aware. He said life preservers aren&8217;t as big an issue these days, and most people keep the proper number on board and vests on children under the age of eight.

One of the things he feels is quite important is a newer law for boaters: &8220;You can&8217;t have any persons or equipment obstructing the view of the operator while the vessel is on plane. It is also could to remember to attach the emergency cut off switch to the driver.&8221;

Since a boater can observe all the rules and regulations of boating and still be involved in an accident, Oliver said defensive driving is very important to water safety.

Oliver said these hints can contribute to waterways being safer for boaters, but that by keeping up to date with regulations and safety topics are also important to the safety of all on the water.