With many people expected on the water, safety is paramount.

Chatham County Marine Patrol officers in two police boats

Chatham County Marine Patrol Cpl. Gene Maxey (right) and Sgt. Daniel Walker, in 2019. They're urging caution on the water ahead of a busy Fourth of July.

Credit: Emily Jones

Officials are urging Georgia boaters to stay safe on the water this Fourth of July weekend.

Boat sales exploded during the pandemic as people looked for ways to have fun outside. That means waterways have been busy this summer, and many boaters are inexperienced.

Officials say it’s essential to tell someone your boating plans, including where you’re going and when you’re coming back, so rescuers can find you if something goes wrong. Also, be sure to check navigation lights before heading out, so you’re not caught without them after dark.

Chatham County Marine Patrol Sergeant Danny Walker said to be extra careful this busy weekend.

“Everybody’s probably gonna be in the water, so watch out for swimmers and stuff like that there, and just be responsible,” he said. "Don’t drink and drive."

Walker also recommends taking a boater safety course, many of which are free.