Boaters be aware: ALEA safety checks during Fourth of July weekend

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Alabama State Troopers will be out on the water during the Fourth of July weekend. From Dauphin Island to Orange Beach, troopers are performing safety checks.

The July Fourth holiday is the busiest and often deadliest time of the boating season according to the American Boating Association. With all the extra ships, state troopers are joining in a national campaign against boating under the influence, Operation Dry Water.

Water may be wet, but people driving around on it need to be dry. State Trooper Tyler Kane says alcohol makes accidents more dangerous.

Kane said, “In a driving accident, you can be knocked unconscious, but you’re not underwater.”

He continued saying, “Plus you’ve got propellers under the water, so if people aren’t wearing their safety switches like they’re supposed to, those propellers can keep operating which can also lead to striking a person.”

It has already been busy for troopers. ALEA worked a boat crash on Dauphin Island on July Fourth. Both people in the boat arrested for boating under the influence. The department says it’s already arrested six people for BUI’s and the holiday weekend is just beginning. Kane said, “In this area, we typically have a lot of tourists, so it’s not a lot of the locals. The locals kind of know we’re here. A lot of times you will find people from out of town that just don’t understand. They don’t think about it and it doesn’t really dawn on them of being a serious thing.”

Even if you’re sober, there are a few things you might get ticketed for. Kane said, “Safety equipment like your life jackets, your throwables, any kind of safety switches that are supposed to be worn, making sure everybody on the boat, especially the operator of the boat, the captain, isn’t intoxicated.”

No one received a BUI while we WKRG was out on the boat. Troopers say they’ll be out in the orange beach area tomorrow.

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