Don't Be a Victim: Boating Safety

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Memorial Day Weekend signals the start of the summer season, with more people out enjoying our area's waterways.

While DNR officers say they want you to have a good time, they also want you to play it safe.

"We want them to have a safety mindset the whole time they are out here," said Jordan Crawford, DNR Game Warden, First Class.

It's Jordan Crawford's job to make sure people play by the rules when enjoying our area's plentiful natural resources, and a lot more of them will be enjoying those waters now that summer is near. He says boaters should always have a float plan.

"Let your family know where you are going to be, where you are putting in, what time you are taking out and what you are going to be doing while you are out on the water," Crawford said.

Having a float plan will give rescue crews an idea of where to start looking if something does go wrong. Make sure that the boat is equipped with proper safety equipment such as a working fire extinguisher and lifejackets for everyone on board.

"Any child that is under the age of 13 has to wear a lifejacket when the boat is in motion," Crawford said. "We also want that lifejacket to be a properly fitting lifejacket and be Coast Guard approved."

Children should also be supervised closely at all times, and always designate a driver. Having too much to drink can turn summertime time into a tragedy.

"It's something definitely to remember in this environment - a waterborne environment. The alcohol affects folks differently and it can amplify the effects of alcohol, so we want folks to remember that when they are out and recreating. We don't want to issue citations and take folks to jail, but if that is what it comes down to, we have to do our job to make sure folks are enjoying the resources safely," Crawford said.

Play it safe and don't be a victim.

Copyright 2018 WTOC. All rights reserved.