Weekend crowds expected at lakes

Published 9:02am Monday, May 26, 2014

With the weather forecast calling for plenty of sunshine and high temperatures that means high traffic volume on the state’s waterways this holiday weekend.

Alabama Marine Police Sgt. Walter Lacey said area lakes Martin and Jordan are expected to be “extremely congested” during the Memorial Day weekend.

“Since Lake Martin is such a tourist attraction coupled with the great weather forecast, we will see a lot of boats on the water,” he said.

Lacey said boat traffic should pick up on Lake Jordan as well as most of the lakes and rivers throughout the state.

There will be two Alabama Marine Police boats patrolling Lake Martin this weekend while there will be one boat splitting time on Lakes Jordan and Mitchell, according to District III supervisor Capt. Matt Brooks.

This weekend will mark the first major boating traffic holiday following the signing into law of the new BUI bill, which calls for the same penalty as a DUI.

The law took four years and three local boating deaths before it was passed by the state Legislature.

So far there have been six boating fatalities on state waters this year.

The last fatality took place on the Alabama River inside Lowndes County last week.

Brooks said the top complaint coming into his office are wakeboarders using shallow sloughs.

“I encourage all wakeboarders to use more open water and be courteous of your neighbors and don’t use shallow sloughs,” Brooks added.

Lacey said there aren’t any major changes in boating laws in terms of registration, decals or other violations.

“We would just remind boaters to be courteous to other boaters,” he added. “There will be many more boaters on Alabama waters, which may make it harder to navigate.

“We hope it will be a quiet and safe weekend.”

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