Activity on Water Increases, ALEA Marine Patrol Reminds of Social Distancing on Water

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Brenda Gilbert has been coming to Lake Martin for thirty years.

“I think it’s a great way to try to help get through these times, it’s good therapy,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert is one of hundreds of boaters who have been on Alabama’s waterways in recent days. And with health order guidelines in effect, Gilbert says she’s doing her part to maintain that six foot distance. She encourages others to do the same.

“I would be careful about who’s on the boat with you. And I understand that families get together. But I would make sure that they were following those same rules,” Gilbert said.

Lieutenant Mark Fuller with ALEA’s Marine Patrol Division says he wants boaters to know that law enforcement is patrolling the waterways to make sure all COVID-19 guidelines are obeyed. The Division sent out a notice over the weekend to remind boaters of social distancing, as well as water safety.

“The coronavirus has no boundaries, it’s just as easy to get it on the waterways as it is on land,” Fuller said.

Fuller says there has been a spike in boating traffic.
He contributes that to schools, businesses, and churches closed due to the coronavirus.
ALEA is keeping a watchful eye out to make sure boaters are obeying state health order guidelines.

“If we see congregations of more people than ten, we will remind them that they need to practice social distancing and separate to comply with the order from the governor’s office,” Fuller said.

“We get out on the boat and we ride around in the boat and we’re social distancing, so when a boat passes, and that’s no where near six feet, hopefully,” Gilbert said.

ALEA officials say it’s important to give other boaters plenty of room, be courteous, and make sure life jackets are easily accessible. Other tips include: checking the vessel’s safety equipment before use, don’t operate too close to the docks or shore, and designate a drive to operate the boat if alcohol is planning to be consumed.

Categories: Coronavirus