Crowded waters can lead to safety issues, emergency responders say

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MOUNTAIN BROOK. Ala. – Emergency responders want boaters to be safe on central Alabama’s waters, especially after seeing several incidents over July 4th weekend.

As of Monday morning, rescue crews still were searching for a woman who went missing following a boat crash on July 4th. Another crew resumed search efforts for a man who was blown off his boat on Lay Lake over the weekend. Two people died during a July 4th incident on Lake Jordan.

Emergency responders say most summer weekends are busy on the state’s lakes and rivers, but holidays are even busier. And that can lead to safety concerns.

“The biggest thing is just how busy it is out there,” Lt. Justin Baker with the Mountain Brook Fire Department said. “And people get out there pleasure riding, having a good time, excessive speed and inexperienced drivers out there, and you know something’s going to happen. It’s almost inevitable.”

Fireworks shows can lead to dangerous situations, as well, especially since it’s dark and crowded when people leave those shows.

“So you have hundreds of boats all heading out at the same time and limited visibility and inexperienced drivers and things like that,” Baker said. “And it can be a bad situation.”

Rivers also can present problems at night. The Rocky Ridge Fire Department assists with rescue efforts along the Cahaba River. Assistant chief Michael Bartlett says it’s non unusual for people lose track of where they are and find themselves lost after the sun goes down.

“That kind of makes it hard for us to identify exactly their location of where to put in at,” Bartlett said. “So if you’re on the river, kind of have an idea of where you’re at so that if you have a problem and you call it in, you can give a better location for the fire service to know where to put in to kind of get to you quicker.”

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