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Alabama Marine Police offer holiday boating tips

A busy holiday weekend is expected on area waterways. Law enforcement officials say more accidents and deaths happen as a result. Alabama marine police are urging people to be extra cautious.
Herman Brookins enjoys the afternoon with his family on Lake Eufaula and discusses his background operating river patrol boats in Vietnam.
Herman Brookins enjoys the afternoon with his family on Lake Eufaula and discusses his background operating river patrol boats in Vietnam.
Alabama Marine Police Officer Scott Campbell discusses boat dangers and ways to stay safe on waterways.
Alabama Marine Police Officer Scott Campbell discusses boat dangers and ways to stay safe on waterways.
"This weekend, we're really focusing on several things.  We're focusing on alcohol.  With the Fourth of July weekend, we do see an increase in alcohol consumption.  Everybody's out here just trying to have a good time," said Alabama Marine Police Officer Scott Campbell.

He says boating under the influence carries the same penalties as driving under the influence.

But some boaters say alcohol is the least of their concerns.

"People running too close to other boats, wide open, that's one of the main concerns,” said boater John Myers, of Willacoochie, Georgia.

He spends a lot of time on Lake Eufaula and says he's always prepared.

"I always have my life jackets, always have my throw cushion, and boat paddles, basically, all the safety equipment you need."

"I'm a veteran, and I was in Vietnam on PBRs," said Herman Brookins of Donalsonville, Georgia, referring to river patrol boats.   He and his family were enjoying an early start to the holiday weekend in his boat on Lake Eufaula, and he’s been cruising the waterways for more than 40 years.

"Just have to follow the rules, and watch out for your fellow man and be safe,” Brookins said.  “Leave off the drinking.  My boss back here, she dictates that.  I'm the designated driver.  She's the designated boss,” he joked, pointing to his wife.

Campbell gave us a few boating tips, and not just for holiday weekends.

•Test those boat lights to make sure they work at night.

•Wear a safety jacket.

•Wear a kill switch

•Properly yield to the right of other vessels.

•Always pay attention.

"With more traffic comes more accidents.  We really stress that people keep a better watch out.  There's going to be a lot of traffic," said Campbell.

For more on the boating laws and boater safety, you can visit the website outdooralabama.com.

Marine police also recommend checking the weather before boating.

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