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Out on the Boat, Part II: Boater Safety and Whether You Can Have Alcohol

SCOTT COUNTY, Miss.–If you live in Scott County and plan to put a boat in the water on the Ross Barnett Reservoir, you can’t have beer. The reason: it’s a dry county. But, you can have alcohol if you don’t boat in a dry county, as long as you don’t drink and drive.

If you’re looking to put the boat in the water for the first time this year, this weekend, you need to put your safety first, said Lt. Randy Newell, with the Miss. Dept. of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

“We’ve got to have that safety equipment,” he said. “Make sure your running lights, front and rear, are working properly. Make sure that fire extinguisher has a full charge.”

INTERVIEW WITH NEWELL ON THE JT SHOW

Newell said even though you’re in the water, a fire extinguisher is still necessary because “all the water in the world will not put out a gas and oil fire”.

He also said make sure your personal floatation devices are in good shape, since they may have been sitting up for a while.

Newell also reminded people that if you were born after 1980, you have to take a boating safety class to operate a boat.

“Go to www.mdwfp.com, look at the county close to you. We ask that people would call because we want to know how much material to bring to class. But, young, old, in between, if you would attend one of these classes, we will teach you something that will save your life.”

As far as alcohol, it’s a safety risk, of course, if the driver is drinking, and patrols will be on the lookout for intoxicated drivers, but Newell said, as long as the county ordinance allows, it’s not illegal to have beer in the boat.

“Please check your county ordinances. People that have had alcoholic beverage who are of age, that was not a concern, we’re just concerned about the driver.”

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