TCSO talks ways to safely boat and use fireworks

Published 9:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2023

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By: Olivia Johnson and Abbi Kirby 

As the Fourth of July rolls around and festivities begin, the Troup County Sheriff’s Office reminds the citizens of LaGrange about a few ways to be safe while boating and using fireworks.

Sgt. Stewart Smith of the Troup County Sheriff’s Office said there will be a few opportunities to see fireworks over the weekend, including July 3 at Callaway Baptist Church and July 4 at Pyne Road Park.

The gates at the annual Pyne Road Park firework show will open at 3 p.m. with an entry of $10 per vehicle. Visitors are encouraged to come early due to parking being limited this year due to the ongoing construction of the Okfuskee Conservation Center. Once the parking capacity is reached, the park will close. 

Local vendors will be selling food and beverages along with live music by Eley Road at 6 p.m. The fireworks show will begin at dark.

Boats, trailers, pop-up tents, and pets that are not service animals are not allowed at the fireworks show.

While there are options to sit back and let the show, Smith said there are a few things to know for people who want to fire their own fireworks.

“Preferably adults or older teenagers should be the ones handling the fireworks, but always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s rules. Keep water handy and keep small children away from the fireworks, especially when they’re being discharged, and don’t shoot them toward any homes,” Smith said.

“You can’t light fireworks in public streets and be aware or observer who your neighbors are”

He said fireworks are not allowed to be shot after midnight. If they are it becomes a noise violation.

“Typically, the calls about fireworks have down since it’s become a thing of regularity on July 4, but the people could do us a favor and not call 911 to complain about somebody shooting fireworks unless they’re doing so in an unsafe manner,” Smith said.

Smith also said for those looking to take the boat out for the holiday, be aware of your surroundings, wear a life jacket and never operate a boat under the influence.

“Operating a boat under the influence is the same as operating a vehicle under the influence. Over point .08 alcohol content is beyond the legal limits. If you’re going to be the driver of that boat, it is best not to consume any alcohol at all,” Smith said.

“West Point Lake is very busy during this time of year, but the main rule is to make sure that you have enough life jackets for everybody. Children are required to wear a jacket at all times, especially when the boat is moving and especially if you’ve got someone that’s not a good swimmer on the boat. When you get into a jet ski, you have to wear the life jacket the entire time it’s being operated.”

Smith said typically around the July 4 holiday, they will get calls about boats either stranded or someone who has gotten lost on the lake.

“When that happens we go and try to find them but it gets difficult if gets dark and you get confused about where you are. If you don’t know where you’re at on West Point Lake, it’s very hard for us to find you,” Smith said.

“We want everybody to be safe this year. Please use common sense and be safe out on the lake and using fireworks.”