CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - Each year, waterways in the Carolinas get more populated around the Fourth of July, with larger crowds and new, sometimes inexperienced, boaters.
"Inexperience is the biggest problem," said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Lake Enforcement Officer Stanley Joye. "And then alcohol-- and when you mix the two, that's a bad combination."
Local law enforcement officers will be all aboard their new boat all holiday weekend long, making sure proper protocols are being followed.
"You can't have children and toddlers wearing adult life jackets because if they fall in-- they'll slide right through," Joye said. "So you need to make sure you have all of your safety equipment."
Authorities will be looking for erratic driving and boating while under the influence.
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"Every time we stop, we do a safety check to make sure they have life jackets for everyone on board," Joye said. "And a throw cushion they can throw if they fall in. Also, a fire extinguisher and registration, paper work and lights and everything are working."
CMPD officers say preparation is key.
"On July 4, a lot of people are out to watch the fireworks and you need to make sure your lights are working,"Joye said. "Some people wait until the sun goes down and find out their lights aren't working-- and then they're stuck on the lake without proper lighting and that's very dangerous."
North Carolina just implemented a law requiring people born after January 1, 1988 to take a safe boaters course.
Police say even if you know how to swim, you should be wearing life jackets on the water.
Life jackets of all sizes have been donated by the Lake Wylie Marine Commission to hand out accordingly.