Deputies conduct boating safety checks

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This weekend, many boaters will go out to the lake or river for the first time this season. Saturday, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Deputies joined them to do surprise safety checks.

While they did not issue citations, they did insist everyone have a safe and fun time on the water during Riverfest.

“It’s our main goal is to make sure everyone’s being safe,” says Deputy Matt Faircloth. “We’re not out here to give anybody an unnecessarily hard time.”

The biggest problem they encounter during Riverfest? Concertgoers jamming up the channel with boats blocking barges.

“It’s a never-ending ordeal trying to keep them out of it,” says Faircloth.

Saturday, FOX16 rode along as deputies did random safety checks.

“The reason we’re stopping you is you’ve got people riding outside the area designed for passengers. When you’re riding up like you were you’re about to cross wakes, it gets a little rough,” said Faircloth.

They also check to see if each boat has enough life jackets.

“We don’t want to fish nobody out today if we don’t have to. You guys have a safe day,” Faircloth said to one boater.

“The main reason we’re gonna stop and talk to you, you’re coming up like that and you crossed in front of us, it’s rules of the road, man, just like on the highway, you meet us and turn behind us,” he said to another boater.

One boater did not have his paperwork with him on his boat, but after a quick radio call, he checked out.

Deputies could have cited all of the boaters if they wanted to.

“The last thing we want to do is have a tragic end to what’s supposed to be a fun weekend, therefore, we typically don’t write citations on a first encounter,” says Faircloth.

But, there is one violation that’ll definitely get you in trouble. The deputies have a zero tolerance for boating under the influence.

The deputies in this story will work twelve hour shifts this weekend. They’re supposed to get off work at midnight, but worked until one this morning.

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