FLORENCE, Ala. – With summer quickly approaching, water safety should take high priority, especially on the Tennessee River. There are many things to think about in addition to the life vests and fire extinguishers on a boat.

With one water rescue already under their belt on Thursday, the Florence Fire and Rescue boat started patrols. Distress calls have already started for the summer boating season.

“The thing about boating safety, we need to start that before we actually leave home,” stated Asst. Fire Chief Tim Anerton with Florence Fire and Rescue.

For those who store their boats over the winter, Anerton says it needs a thorough inspection. Whether it’s done at home or by a professional, all facets of the boat should be checked. An engine that dies on the river could put you and your passengers in a dangerous situation.

“Dead batteries, out of gas, that’s a major problem,” Anerton explained. “Especially when you are out in the barge canal. Barge traffic doesn’t stop very fast even if they wanted too.”

Vessel failures make up the majority of their calls. The next one has to do with boaters who don’t return when they are supposed to. Anerton says to always make sure someone knows where you’re going.

“It may be something as simple as a dead battery, but we know where to start; we know where to go look. Don’t anticipate your cell-phone, if I have trouble I’m going to use my cell-phone. Because it may be the thing that is in the water, and you don’t want to rely on that.”

In order for everyone to have a good time, make sure your boat is ship-shape and you’ve got the necessary safety devices in place.

The water rescue mentioned earlier happened in the Florence Harbor after someone fell out of their boat and couldn’t get out of the water. The boater was safely brought to dry land and is doing okay. A reminder to always wear a life vest.