We often don't think much about our safety when we are on the water, but a recent drowning in Kemper County makes now a good time for a few reminders.
Okatibbee Lake park ranger Gary Hardin says to make sure others know where you are and when to expect you back. He stresses that no one should ever be in or on the water alone.
"If you have someone else out in the boat with you, if you run into trouble or if you have a medical emergency out there on the water, you'll have someone there to help you," Hardin said. "If you have any trouble or if you do fall overboard, there will be somebody there to help you."
Hardin said it's important to remember to always wear a life jacket. Mississippi law requires anyone 12 years of age and younger to wear them. At Okatibbee, they even have life jackets available for borrowing.
"Always use good common sense. Make sure you watch the weather," said Hardin. "Don't get out there when there's high winds and thunderstorms. Make sure you plan ahead and make sure your boat is running properly."
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks holds boating safety classes at Okatibbee, usually scheduled in the spring.
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