Memorial Day boating safety tips from the CCSO

Smith Lake Park is one of Cullman County’s most popular summertime attractions. (Smith Lake Park/Facebook)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend, when many will be hitting the water at Smith Lake and other areas, Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry is advising residents to be safe on the water.

“Don’t boat under the influence, make sure everyone has the appropriate safety gear and pay attention. If you don’t know how to drive a boat, then don’t,” Gentry said. “We want to encourage boaters to pay attention to all of your occupants, but also pay attention to those who are in the water.”

CCSO Director of Communications, Lt. Chad Whaley shared the following tips:

  • Be safety conscious. Situational awareness should not stop on the land. Be aware of potential dangers in the boat and on the water. 
  • Don’t drink and drive, whether in the car or on the boat. Land or water, alcohol and operating motor vehicles is a deadly combination.   
  • Always wear a life vest. Regardless of one’s swimming ability, a life jacket should be worn anytime they are on the water. Life jackets save lives! 
  • Be extra cautious with kids. Along with life vests, constant monitoring is a must for children. Make sure there is no miscommunication as to who is watching the kids. Eyes (and hands) should be on the little ones at all times. 
  • Avoid unnecessary distractions. Distracted driving, distracted boating or distracted parenting can all be disastrous.
  • Be diligent and do your part to ensure the safety of everyone on the water.

“From the sheriff’s office and myself, we want everyone to have a blessed Memorial Day and to be safe,” said Gentry. “We look forward to all the families that are coming in and enjoying this weekend, but most importantly be safe and God bless everybody.”

For non-emergencies this weekend, call the CCSO dispatch office at 256-734-0342.

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