For many, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer water sports activities. For others, like the Alabama Marine Police, it is a time to remind Alabamians about water safety.
Lieutenant Erica Shipman, an agency spokeswoman, said water vehicle accidents this year on Alabama's waterways already have claimed nine lives.
She said boating enthusiasts should always have proper safety gear on board -- that includes wearing Coast Guard approved personal floatation devices or life preservers and avoid drinking alcohol.
If alcohol is consumed, Shipman suggests selecting someone in the group who is not drinking to be the designated operator.
In Alabama the legal blood-alcohol level is .08 percent. In addition, the legal age to operate a motorized watercraft is 14.
Marine Police also remind boaters to know your boat's load limit and don't overload beyond the capacity.
For more information about boating safety, go online at www.outdooralabama.com.