With an increased number of boaters and swimmers expected on Alabama Power’s lakes and rivers this upcoming holiday weekend, the company is encouraging everyone to abide by common outdoor and water safety guidelines.
“Safety on our lakes is a top priority for Alabama Power,” said Alabama Power spokesperson Dennis Washington. “We want everyone to enjoy our lakes and rivers in a manner safe to them and others around them.”
Alabama Power — with the help of numerous partners — provides more than 65 public recreation sites on the 12 reservoirs it manages across the state. These sites, called The Preserves, include five day-use facilities, dozens of boat ramps and handicap-accessible hunting and fishing opportunities that provide open access to the beauty and fun of the state’s abundant natural resources.
To safely enjoy The Preserves and Alabama’s lakes and rivers, Alabama Power recommends you and your family observe the following safety guidelines.
— Never swim alone. Anywhere there is water, there is a danger of drowning.
— An adult must always watch children closely. This means no reading, talking on the phone or texting. An adult should be within arm’s reach of infants, toddlers and weaker swimmers.
— Enter shallow water feet first. It is never OK to dive into water less than 9 feet deep.
— Drink more non-alcoholic fluids. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink, regardless of your activity level.
— Limit the amount of time spent outside during the middle of the day. The sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
— Apply sunscreen. At least 20 minutes before going outside, apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
— Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Flowing garments allow air circulation and light-colored fabrics reflect light and heat.
— Check your boat. Many people put their boats in the water without first checking motor belts and fluids, and end up having to be towed. Make sure your boat is in good working order before taking it out. Also make sure all required safety equipment is on the boat and in good working order.
— Be courteous on the water. From the time you start to take the boat to the launching ramp until the time you take it out, courtesy plays a big part in the boating adventure. Be careful of your wake, both around homes and other boaters.
— Drive defensively. Be aware of what other boaters are doing around you. Even if you have the right-of-way, if the other boater doesn’t give way to your vessel, you give way. Especially keep an eye out for boaters on personal watercraft, paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, etc.
— Don’t drink and drive a boat. Just like on the highway, drinking alcoholic beverages and operating a boat is against the law and dangerous.
— Stay aware of stormy weather. Storms can come up quickly, especially in the summer, so keep an eye to the sky. If caught in a storm, try to get to the nearest shelter.