BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Marine Police confirm this year's number of boating fatalities is unusually high.
They said 23 people have died in Alabama this year, as a result of boating or personal watercraft accidents.
“There is an increase in boating fatalities and accidents this year,” Marine Police Officer Corporal David Mobley told WBRC.
Mobley says there are two main factors involved in most boating fatalities.
He says boat operators and passengers always need life vests, and access to them and other safety equipment.
"The number one thing is safety equipment, and that involves life jackets, and them being accessible," Mobley says.
He also said operators need to follow the “rules of the road,” saying Alabama’s system of rivers and lakes were the state’s first highway, and highway drivers will crash if they don’t follow the rules of the road.
“Same here on the waterway. Boat operators need to obey the rules of the road. Every crash can be attributed to at least one or more rules of the roadway,” said Mobley.
Corporal Mobley says there aren't open container laws on waterways like there are on highways, so there should always be a designated driver if alcohol is being consumed.
Mobley says he hopes boaters will be mindful of boating safety for the rest of the summer and Labor Day weekend.