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TCSO shares boating safety tips

By Cole Trahan

If you plan to go boating on West Point Lake this Memorial Day or weekend, the Troup County Sheriff’s office has some safety tips to share.

“First and foremost, do not do it under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” said public information officer Sgt. Stewart Smith, explaining that doing so significantly increases the risk of accidents.

As for life jackets, Smith explained that there has to be one for each person in a boat, and they have to fit. He said that isn’t just a safety tip, but a Georgia law.

“Children under the age of 13 have to wear their life jackets when the boat is underway unless the boat has an enclosed cabin that they’re in,” Smith said.

He advised that boaters bring cell phones, fire extinguishers, and enough fuel for their journeys.

Smith said that people sometimes get lost on West Point Lake, especially at night.

“But we’re fortunate on West Point Lake. We have buoys that are marked with numbers, and some of those actually have lights on them at night. And our 911 center has got a corresponding mapping system that goes with those. So, best advice — if you’re going to get out on the lake, know where you’re going and be familiar with it.”

In 2019, a 34-year-old Jonesboro man drown at West Point Lake on Memorial Day weekend.