PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - It is the unofficial start to boating season and with many folks spending Memorial Day weekend at Dewey Lake, law enforcement officials are also out in full force on the water.
Conservation Officer Eric Thomas says, "This is kind of the big weekend that kicks off boating and fishing. The kids are out of school and parents are taking vacation."
Officers say they keep an eye out for boating under the influence and any other dangerous behavior. They also perform boat safety inspections, check for proper registration and fishing licenses.
Officer Thomas says, "Need to have enough life jackets on the boat for everybody that's on the boat and if the children are on board and the boats under weigh they must have a coast guard approved life jacket on while the boat is moving, also looking for approved fire extinguisher that is not expired."
The majority of citations officials say they have had to issue throughout the holiday weekend have been for invalid registration and license.
Officer Thomas explains, "Registration is due annually in Kentucky each year on the first of May, it being end of may with Memorial Day, we do see a lot of expired registration."
Conservation Officer Jim Marshall says, "Pretty much everything else has been fishing without a license, so as far as overall safety...we are doing pretty good."
Officials say they also see a lot of life jacket violations, so Officer Thomas decided to give children an incentive to wear their life jacket. He hands out coupons for free ice cream at Dairy Queen to every child who is complying with the rules.
Thomas says, "it encourages them to wear life jacket and brings a little smile to their day." Officials say that is what their job is all about...making sure everyone has a fun but safe time out on the water.