Stay safe on the beach during spring break

BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) – Spring break is winding down for students in Mobile and Baldwin counties.

Red flags have been up on Alabama beaches for the last couple of days, calling attention not only to swimming safety, but boating and jet ski safety, as well.

An important event concerning boating safety is coming up Saturday, April 19 in Baldwin County.

WEATHER COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER

There was a soaking rain Friday morning, and the weather recently has been less than ideal.

Gulf Shores Recreation and Cultural Affairs Director Grant Brown said, “Because it’s been a little cold, and some rainy days, the beach has not been overcrowded with people. We’ve had a very quiet beach throughout the spring break week of Mobile and Baldwin County.”

What’s more, red flags were flying Friday morning because of dangerous rip currents, and they’ve been up for much of the week.

Brown said, “We’ve had a couple of incidents where we’ve had to have swimmer distress calls, but, fortunately, no major swimmer distress incidents to speak of.”

BOATING SEASON

When the weather is nice, a lot of people like to go out boating or jet skiing.

Some will be going for the first time.

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 3-10 said not everyone realizes you need a special certification to operate even a jet ski, or you can be fined.

John Griggs with the flotilla said, “If you’re not 14 years of age or older, and having passed the course, you’re not allowed to operate a vessel.”

That includes jet skis.

Flotilla members also want to remind people that jet skis can be tricky if you’re not used to them.

Flotlla member Tom Moo said, “They go 50, 55 miles an hour, and a kid can get in big trouble fast around docks. They don’t turn unless you’ve got power on, but, it isn’t like in a car. We always turn the power off when we slow down and put on the brakes on. Tthey don’t have any brakes on a jet ski.”

CERTIFICATION CLASS

Saturday morning, the auxiliary is holding a boat and jet ski safety classroom course at the Orange Beach Community Center.

People who complete the course get a certificate that satisfies requirements to get a boat license, and you can get a “V” put on your drivers license.

If you want to take the course Saturday, contact the flotilla ahead of time.

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