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Boat safety tips ahead of Memorial Day weekend

This weekend is the first warm holiday weekend of the year. Some will be enjoying the weekend on a boat. But as fun as it may be, it can also be deadly.

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — Drowning is the leading cause of death in boating accidents, and if you are heading out on the water this Memorial Day weekend, a life jacket is one of the mandatory items you will need for your safety.

"They may seem expensive at the time," said ALEA Marine Division Senior Trooper James Young, "...but, you know,  depending on what you get, it could save you or a loved one. There's nothing more cherishing than that."

"If you're going to be out here, and there's going to be a lot of people on your boat, before you depart, you need to let everyone know where the safety equipment is, life jackets, throw cushions, and fire extinguishers," explained ALEA Marine Division Senior Trooper Daniel Money.

This is especially important if you're going out on the water at night. Money also leaves a word of advice for those who are not comfortable swimming. "If you're not a good swimmer,  wear a life jacket." Even if you are a good swimmer, it's a good practice to wear a life jacket in the water anyway. "Put a life jacket on. If you're gonna be out there, you never know what's going to happen."

Furthermore, when out on the water, always have your kill switch lanyard attached. "What that does is you have it attached to you, and if you hit something and you get thrown out of the boat or throwed to the back of the boat, it kills the motor." said Money.

And keep in mind, it is against state law to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol.

Being out on the water can be very dangerous. However, the good news is you can do it safely and enjoy it.

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