Boating safety encouraged during water activities
by Shaka S. Lias
May 29, 2011 | 1815 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Boaters on Lake Allatoona at Red Top Mountain enjoy a day on the lake.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News, File
Boaters on Lake Allatoona at Red Top Mountain enjoy a day on the lake. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News, File
As Memorial Day kicks off the unofficial start of summer activities, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asks people to put safety ahead of fun, especially where boating is involved.

"We welcome visitors and their families to enjoy the use of our lakes and recreational areas this holiday weekend, but [we] want them to be safe by wearing life jackets," Lance Davis, public affairs specialist with USACE Mobile District said.

Chris Purvis, a park ranger at Lake Allatoona, agrees -- safety is first.

Purvis said campgrounds began to fill up on Thursday and more people are expected.

"The bigger days will be Saturday and Sunday, by Monday people are starting to go home," he said.

One of the main water activities is boating. Purvis advises everyone to make sure their boats are in good working condition and to watch for other boaters.

"Slow down because the lake will be full, watch for hazards and wear life jackets," Purvis said.

Purvis recommends life jackets for everyone, even those who can swim.

Children 10 and younger are required to wear them as well as people on jet skis or any other water sport craft.

The Corps of Engineers offers loaners at all their locations.

While there are no lifeguards on duty, park rangers and the Department of Natural Resources have rangers on boat patrol.

"A child can drown in less than 30 seconds; an adult in 60 seconds, but it takes less than a minute to put on a life jacket," Davis said.

Purvis said there were five drownings in the past two years.

"Of course, we want to have that a zero," he said. "Know your limit when swimming."

Purvis also warns against drinking and boating.

"Alcohol and boating don't mix," he said.

Purvis said whether people are coming to their facilities for boating, fishing, picnics or just to enjoy the beach, he wants everyone to enjoy themselves.

"It's going to be a very busy week, take it easy and be careful, because we want everyone to come back alive."

Water Safety tips

* Swim with a buddy.

* Swim in designated areas only.

* Leave water at the first sign of bad weather.

* Watch your children-- no reading, phones or napping.

* Go feet first in the water.

* Wear a life jacket because it can save your life.

* Learn how to swim, but be reminded that even good swimmers can drown.

Boating Safety tips

* Always boat soberly.

* Always boat with a friend.

* Always wear a life jacket when you are on a boat.

* Use running lights from dusk to dawn when you are on the water.

* Always let someone on shore know where you plan to take the boat.

* Check the weather before you put the boat in water.

* Know and follow the water rules.

-- Tips provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers