Marine Police in Full Force for Memorial Day Weekend
MONTGOMERY -- Alabama’s Marine Police Division will be in full force for the Memorial Day weekend, and officials are reminding boaters that they will be fined if found in violation of the state's boating safety regulations. Common offenses and fines include:
*Operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol: a fine of at least $600 plus court costs and loss of license for 90 days; fines can be as high at $2,100.
*Operating a boat that is not registered carries a fine of $10 plus court costs.
*Insufficient number of life jackets on board: a $50 fine plus court costs. Not having a life jacket for a child under the age of 8, however, carries a fine of $100.
As a goodwill sign, Alabama's Marine Police will give away life jackets to those found in violation of not having life jackets for children under the age of 8. "We want to enforce the laws, but our number one concern is safety," said Lt. Erica Shipman of the Marine Police Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. "The Alabama Children’s Water Safety Task Force and other sponsors have donated life jackets in an effort to emphasize even more safety for young children on boats. Putting a child in a properly fitted life jacket can literally mean the difference between life and death."
There were no boating related fatalities in Alabama last Memorial Day. The number of boating accident fatalities in Alabama dropped dramatically following passage of the Roberson-Archer Act 10 years ago. In 1999, the first year of mandatory boating licensing, fatalities dropped almost 50 percent, to 17. Also, the number of boating-related injuries has dropped sharply.