Lexington County, SC (WLTX) - There have already been three deaths on Lake Murray this season, and law enforcement doesn't want that number to grow this 4th of July.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) took several measures Tuesday to make sure everyone has a safe holiday.
"It's important that everybody has the proper safety equipment on their boats," said Jason Smith with SCDNR.
Smith was at the Lake Murray dam doing free boat inspections before people hit the waters.
"The main goal is just to make sure everybody is out here safe, has a good time, has the proper equipment," Smith said.
First Sergeant Hunter Robinson with SCDNR was in the water patrolling. He says Fourth of July is one of Lake Murray's busiest days of the year.
"Today, mostly I'll be in Lexington County area, that takes up about 80% or more of the lake," Robinson said.
His head was on swivel making sure everyone practices safe boating.
"Make sure boats aren't overloaded to the point where they could take on water or make it dangerous," Robinson said, "also reckless driving and impaired boaters, it's always a focus but even more so on these weekends when it's so crowded."
Although the safety checks may feel excessive, they say it'll be worth it in worst case scenarios.
"You don't want to have a fire on your boat and not have a fire extinguisher," Smith said, "you don't want to have too few life jackets for the people."
In fact, failure to have a life jacket could land you a fine of up to $475 dollars.
"We just want everybody to be safe," Robinson said, "the lake's big enough for everybody, just spread out and try to be safe."
Sgt. Robinson says you should make sure your phones are charged and have extra flashlights when going out at night.
For more information on proper boating safety requirements, click here.