CHARLOTTE, NC (WJZY) - Last year Sheyenne Marshall lost her life to a drunken boater.
"Last year on the fourth of July it was a tragic weekend and our goal is to not have (that happen again) this year," said Sgt. William Laton of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
This year, authorities on the lakes are stepping up their patrols, so that another family like Sheyenne's doesn't have to go through what they went through..
"Keeping the awareness out there is very important to us. Hopefully this law will change some people’s minds," stated Kenny Marshall, Sheyenne's father.
"She wouldn't want anyone else, no other family, nobody to have to go through what we have gone through this last year," Leta Marshall, Sheyenne's mother, said.
Kenny and Leta Marshall have worked hard to make sure no family has to experience their pain. They pushed lawmakers to pass Sheyenne’s law, which strengthens the penalties against drunk boaters who cause serious injury or death, but the law doesn't go into effect until December of 2016.
That's why North Carolina’s Wildlife Resource Commission wants people to not only be aware of their safety but that of everyone around them.
"You know look out for each other be mindful of other boaters on the water. Don't just assume you are the only one out there," Sgt. Laton said.
They also cannot stress enough wearing a life vest. They tell FOX 46 Charlotte a lot of the drownings statewide could have been prevented if the victim had worn a life vest.
Some boaters on Lake Wylie are happy to see more law enforcement boats on patrol. They feel their presence makes people be on their best behavior.
"More patrols on the water make people be more apt to do, be aware to do the right thing. I think tha stepping up their awareness and appearance is definitely going to help everybody enjoy and have a nice and safe Fourth of July weekend," James Hamrick said.