Marine Patrol increases time on water for Memorial Day weekend

Emigrant Lake, Ore. — Patrols have been working overtime this weekend to make sure you are safe.

According to Jackson County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol, it’s actually been a very safe weekend at the lakes.

Education for boaters and swimmers has been the main focus as we unofficially kick off summer.

“The number one focus is safety above all other things,” Deputy Ian Lance said.

Deputy Ian Lance with Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has spent most of his Memorial Day weekend on the water.

He’s part of the Marine Patrol and his job is to make sure everyone stays safe.

“You’ve got sail boats, you’ve got small hobie cats, you’ve got wake-board boats and jet skis and they’re all kind of confined onto I think 900 acres worth of lake. That’s potentially a lot of users that if they’re not all working in harmony can create some user-conflict issues or some user safety problems,” Deputy Lance said.

While Emigrant Lake was very crowded with people this weekend, Deputy Lance says there weren’t any major issues or emergencies.

“It’s busier than I’ve seen it on Emigrant in a long, long time,” Deputy Lance said.

He says it’s mainly been a good opportunity for education — reminding boaters of the basics like wearing a life jacket and a whistle, reporting boat crashes, and making sure your boat is registered.

“If that boat’s longer than 10 feet, than it needs to have the Aquatic Invasive Species permit,” Deputy Lance said.

The other topic that comes up a lot is alcohol.

“You are allowed to drink on your boat. The operator just needs to be aware that the rules for boating under the influence are very similar to driving under the influence,” Deputy Lance said.

Deputy Lance says boaters can experience a level of impairment that’s different than what they may experience on land.

He says boating under the influence is one of the main reasons he’ll stay out on the lake as long as it takes.\

“When the sun starts going down and everybody starts to filter back to camp, I’ll usually tuck in behind the last group of them kind of to make sure the lake’s put to bed and everybody’s home that needs to be home… And then I get to go home,” Deputy Lance said.

Deputy Lance says his number one goal this season is for Jackson County to have zero boating fatalities.

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