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Officials Urge Caution On The Water As Storm Debris Cleanup Begins In Baldwin County
July 02, 2014
JOINT PRESS RELEASE
Alabama Emergency Management Agency
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – As cleanup of debris deposited in Baldwin County waterways by this spring’s storms gets underway Monday, July 7, state officials are urging the public to be careful.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Marine Police Division and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency advise boaters and others to take special care while operating in the areas of Fish River, Magnolia River and Weeks Bay where debris removal is taking place.
“We understand that the Fourth of July is a busy time on the water,” said Alabama’s State Coordinating Officer, Jeff Byard. “Until this work is completed, boaters, watercraft users and swimmers should remember that there is still debris in some parts of these waterways, and some of it is not immediately visible because it’s below the surface.”
Colonel Steve Thompson, Marine Police Division Director, reminded those using the waterways in question to avoid areas marked with buoys and use caution in general.
“The marked areas are not safe places to boat, ski or tube because of identified debris,” Thompson said. “There are plenty of other areas on those waterways that boaters and swimmers can use safely, but even then they should exercise reasonable care.”
When boating or using personal watercraft, Thompson said people should:
· Keep a careful watch ahead for any debris in the water.
· Keep your speed slow enough to be able to safely avoid any hazards that you encounter.
· Watch out for other boaters and swimmers.
· Remember, always pass to the right (just like when driving a car) when you approach another boat.
When swimming or wading:
· Be especially careful in areas where sediment makes it difficult to see hazards in the water.
· Never jump or dive into murky water since logs and other heavy debris may have become waterlogged and be suspended just beneath the surface.
· When wading, be careful of sharp debris, including nails and glass, which may be resting on the bottom.