When enjoying the summer, remember safety first - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

When enjoying the summer, remember safety first

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Whether you're revving up the boat engine or setting up camp, summer in Mississippi always brings out the recreational enthusiasts, from both in and out of state. It's big money for Mississippi that needs a watchful eye.

"We've got a lot of people out there, they want to enjoy the weekends," said Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Major Jerry Carter.

Carter says as numbers spike at state parks and waterways, the most important item to always have with you, is common sense.

"Consider safety the number one priority, even from the time you get in your vehicle. Buckle up," said Carter.

With boaters popping up across the state, Carter says remember state law requires life jackets to be on board for every person. Those operating a boat, born after June 30, 1980, must also take a boating class.

Before launching, Carter says make sure to inspect.

"We have people that just don't take the time out to check equipment, whether it's their boat that's been sitting up in storage for a while. Even your life jackets, they have to be U. S. Coast Guard approved," said Carter.

For those looking to spend a little time under shady pine trees or hike a trail, Carter says be sure to know your surroundings and pay attention to signage.

"Try to get as much information about it as you can, especially if those parks contain bodies of water. Try to get as much information as you can through the park manager," said Carter.

The most problematic issue Carter says is when alcohol mixes with boating, which officers will be on constant look out for. Just as with driving a car, a blood alcohol level of .08 is the limit.

"We're not there just to write tickets, we want to see families enjoy the waters and the waterways of this state but we've got to do it in a safe manner," said Carter.

Inexperienced swimmers are advised to avoid deep, unfamiliar water and make sure to wear a life jacket.

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