GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Russ Carothers and his family are preparing for a day on the water.
For them, safety comes first.
"When the boat's in motion, everybody has a life jacket on," said Carothers. "Safety is a priority for me. It is in my job, as well as on the water. With the family especially, I try to teach the kiddos good habits."
The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is joining federal, state, and local agencies in Operation Dry Water in an attempt to ensure the holiday weekend is safe and fun for everyone.
"We wrote a few tickets yesterday [Saturday] for reckless operation, which is unbelievable to us that people put their families in unnecessary risk," Marine Patrol Chief Keith Davis said.
Officers have been out on the water throughout the weekend to make sure safety measures are in place. Another goal: curbing boating under the influence.
"Just want to remind people to be careful with that. You have your own family's life at your hand when you decide to participate in over-drinking when you operate a vessel on the water," said Davis.
It's important for boaters to remember that conditions can change in an instant.
"It's paramount. Things can change so fast when you're out there on the water. Weather conditions can change really, really fast," Davis added.
For Carothers, taking preventative measures makes all the difference.
"Things can happen quickly on the water," Carothers said, "And a lot of times people think they can reach for a life jacket if an emergency occurs, when actually, they are wrong."
As the holiday weekend continues and more people head out, Davis has a simple piece of advice.
"Just be mindful of all of those things," Davis said. "Be mindful of your surroundings. Be mindful of other boaters. Exercise some good courtesy to other boaters when you're out there."