As warmer seasons approach, many South Mississippi boaters are gearing up to hit coast waters. According to the Department of Marine Resources, there have been no fatalities on the water this year, and they want to keep it that way.
The DMR patrols Mississippi's waterways on a daily basis. Since Katrina, spotting debris in coast waters has become a routine part of their patrol.
"I've seen it all. I've seen cars in the water, a lot of trees, just a ton of debris is out here, and you've got to be real careful," said DMR Master Sergeant Jeffery Payne.
Payne says there's an 18-wheeler, among other debris still in Back Bay, but he is more concerned about the things boaters can't see.
"There's a lot of debris beneath the water that you can't see, and that's what's real dangerous out there," Payne said.
Master Sergeant Payne says the most important thing is to stay in the marked channels.
"The marked channels are all clear of debris," said Payne. "Your marked channels, they're triangles with numbers on them. You can have square ones, and they're different colors, green and red, and you just stay in between them."
And as water enthusiasts are revving up for boating season, the DMR and the Coast Guard are doing their part to make sure the waters are as clear and as safe as possible.
"There's a lot of work to be done. The coast guard is handling the debris clean up, and we're out here to try to let the public know to drive safely," Payne said.
If you ever need assistance from the DMR while out on the water you can call them at 374-5012..
By Toni Miles
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