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State police, conservation officers emphasize safety ahead of holiday weekend

Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 11:10 PM EDT
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PULASKI COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - With many pools closed in our hometowns and a hot 4th of July weekend ahead of us, folks may be out cruising on the lakes and rivers.

Conservation officers and Virginia State Police want to make sure you play it safe in and out of the water this year.

Thursday, there were already a lot more boats out on Claytor Lake compared to usual.

“Give each other space and let’s all enjoy together and have a good time,” said Senior Conservation Police Officer Troy Phillips of the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

Officials plan to up their patrols, knowing there will be more people than usual to visit this Independence Day.

“Our biggest thing is safety,” Phillips said. “We want everyone to be safe. We understand that people want to get out and don’t want to be cooped up inside so they’re coming to the lake.”

Officials want you to have fun this weekend, but they want you to be safe about it. If you’re on or by the water, have your life jacket on, and if you’re on land, police want to make sure you buckle up.

“There is a lot of traffic out there,” said Trooper Terry Woods of the Virginia State Police. “Please keep your eyes up and give that half a car distance ahead of you, safety in mind.”

Near the water, officials said we could all learn from the great example kids set of wearing life jackets by the water.

“Just like the children on the dock, we love to see people wearing their life jackets,” Phillips said. “It’s amazing what you can learn from kids. They’ve got it right.”

Don’t be alarmed if you see more conservation officers out on the water, and state troopers on the road; they’re just keeping your best interest at heart.

“If you’ve got individuals that don’t care about their own safety or the safety of others, that’s when it becomes dangerous, and we don’t want headlines that somebody got hurt or worse,” Phillips said.

“I know everybody’s excited to be out finally and be able to go out and do a little more, but have some common sense as they do it,” Woods said.

Finally, don’t drink and drive, whether that’s on land or on the lake.

“Come and enjoy the wonderful natural resources we have in the Commonwealth, but number one thing is be safe,” Phillips said.

The beach at Claytor Lake State Park is open. Phillips said they are limiting it to 1,000 people to practice social distancing.

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