Crowds Of Memorial Day Boaters Raises Concerns About Safety On The Water

A marine patrol boat launches to police the waterways of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Department of Marine Resources is receiving back up from 9 conservation officers and 3 enforcement boats from Wildlife Fisheries and Parks for the busy Memorial Day weekend on the water.

"We're covering from here all the way to I-110," says a DMR Patrol Officer at the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor. "So we're subject to be anywhere in between. We've got people all over the place."

From sports fishermen to pleasure seekers, with nearly 56 thousand recreational boats registered in the 3 coastal counties alone, safety is always a concern.

"Oh yeah, safety is the main thing," says Dan Pahl of Biloxi. "The safety of you crew, your boat and everybody else around you."

Luckily, most boaters like Pahl and Mark Harris of Bay St. Louis, know what you need to stay safe.

"You need flairs," says Harris. "You need a fire extinguisher. You need a whistle,. And preferably a horn on your boat too and some kind of communication device where you can get back in touch with somebody to come get you if necessary."

"Just make sure you have all your life jackets, and a full tank of gas and oil and have a good time," says Pahl.

Marine officials say you also need to watch the weather closely and be careful not to overload your boat. They suggest filing a float plan detailing your destination, number of passenger, and other vital information. And finally never boat under the influence. These tips, they say, will save lives and keep every adventure seeker smiling on the water this Memorial holiday.