Law enforcement prepares for busy weekend along coastal Georgia

Law enforcement prepares for busy weekend along coastal Georgia

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Boating traffic along Georgia’s waterways and coastal area is expected to be busy this Memorial Day weekend.

Making sure boaters are staying safe, practicing social distancing and not boating under the influence will be several law enforcement agencies.

WTOC spoke to Chatham Marine Patrol about what they’ll be keeping an eye on, and where.

Some of the areas Marine Patrol tell us they will be watching closely will be smaller barrier islands, as well as no wake zones along Turners Creek and Herb River.

Chatham Marine Patrol won’t be alone in doing so.

The law enforcement arm of Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources will also be pulling game wardens from inland areas to help with coastal patrols this weekend.

A Chatham Marine Patrol sergeant we spoke with said the past few weeks have been busy, with lots of boaters on the waterways.

“All the boat ramps have been getting completely filled up and having trouble for places for people to park. So they need to be mindful that if they’re gonna come out they need to come early to the boat ramps to get a parking spot," said Sgt. Danny Walker, Chatham County Marine Patrol.

Sgt. Walker said additionally, they’ll be keeping an eye on boat equipment.

“Make sure all your equipment on your boat is working. Especially if you’re going to be out after dark, make sure your navigation lights work. A lot of people come out here without checking those things and then they get caught by us because they don’t work or they’re not operational.”

Walker said social distancing rules still apply, and they’ll be enforcing them.

“The Governor’s rules and regulations still apply for social distancing. We ask that you don’t congregate more than ten people. You’re not supposed to bring any chairs or tents or coolers on any of the islands. You need to leave those on your boat.”

The Sergeant drove home the point that Marine Patrol isn’t on the water to only punish boaters. They’re focusing on education and making sure people know how to be safe.

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