LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Memorial Day weekend kicks off the unofficial start to summer and boating season.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks has patrolling the water since April, but they crank it up a notch on the holiday weekend.
Memorial Day weekend is the first big boating weekend of the summer.
Many people are launching their boats, catching waves, and feeling the wind in their hair for the first time this year.
“I know we’ve checked probably between 150 and 200 boats, you know, on the Tenn-Tom, as far as our jurisdiction,” says MDWFP Central Region Boating Coordinator, Marc McCleskey.
McCleskey says Game and Fish officers are cruising the water to make sure everyone stays safe, not ruin the fun.
“Your boat registration, make sure your lights work on your boat. If you get out there and get checked, you know, you have everything, then you’re good, but I know the Corps and us, we try to stress if you have your life jacket on, there’s a lot less of a risk of you drowning, so we try to stress to wear your life jacket.”
These officers want to correct the small incidents they’ve seen, to prevent a big problem.
“We had a few people, you know, that didn’t check their life jackets, no boat registration, a few reckless operations, other than that, that’s pretty much it.”
Although Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest weekends of the year, these officers will patrol all summer.
“Make sure before you leave the shore, go through all of your safety equipment. Make sure they’re up to par, and just make sure you have a life jacket for everybody on board, and just remember that life jackets float and you don’t,” says MDWFP boat patrol, Sgt. Travis McDonald.