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Alabama Marine Patrol stresses water safety for Labor Day weekend

After a total of 25 deaths on Alabama water, troopers are calling this summer the deadliest one yet.

Posted: Aug 30, 2019 7:18 PM
Updated: Aug 30, 2019 7:44 PM

It's officially the "unofficial" end of summer.

Thousands of you will hit the water this weekend after the deadliest boating season in two decades.

WAAY-31 was out on Guntersville Lake Friday afternoon to show you how marine patrol hopes to end the season on a high note.

The troopers here told us water safety is just as important when you're on land as it is when you're on a boat.

Having a life jacket and a safety plan are important, especially during high traffic weekends like this one.

"Barbecue...Swimming...Boating... Potato salad," said Tammy Hope, who's visiting Guntersville.

That's the plan for Tammy Hope and her family this Labor Day weekend.

It's a plan, troopers say, can take a turn if you're not careful.

"People become complacent about that kind of thing. They start having fun, and then they start ignoring the small safety issues," said Jeffrey Reaves, senior trooper.

That could explain the 25 deaths on Alabama waters this year...the most since 1998.

Marine Patrol Senior Trooper Jeffrey Reaves will be patrolling Guntersville Lake this weekend.

He says wearing a life jacket that fits, and keeping your eyes open for others can save lives.

"Making sure they've got all their equipment. Making sure that people aren't doing something that they shouldn't be doing," he said.

Reaves told WAAY-31 many of this years' boating deaths happened when people were in rough waters or out during late night hours.

He also told us if you're caught drinking while operating a boat, you can lose your license and face a hefty fine, even jail time.

"Just be safe and have fun. Stay with adults, wear life jackets... Don't drink and boat," said Hailey and Tammy Hope.

Trooper Reaves told WAAY-31 they will have more people patrolling the water this weekend.

He told us if you're not familiar with a body of water you probably shouldn't be in it...and that's one thing people from out of town can forget.

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