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(WBIR) This Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer and for many, the real beginning of lake season.

Officer Jeff Roberson is patrolling the lakes, pushing for boat safety and looking to stop people from operating a boat while drunk.

You need a life jacket for every person on the boat, and children under 12 need to wear one at all times.

You also need a fire extinguisher on board.

"If boats don't have the proper safety equipment, then we will terminate their voyage and won't let them back onto the water until they correct that issue. Whether it be a lighting or extinguisher or life jacket issue," said Roberson.

Jimmy Hinkle drops his boat in and fishes in a bass tournament every Saturday. A tradition, that has lasted more than 20 years. He always wears a life jacket.

"It's proven that most people that end up drowning is because they don't have a life jacket on," said Hinkle.

Sherrie Beasley and her family just bought a new boat.

"Part of being a new boat owner is learning to maneuver and manage your boat around a lot of other boats. If you aren't very experienced at it, you can find yourself in a pickle pretty quickly I think," said Beasley.

The Knox County Sheriff's Office is assisting TWRA on the water this weekend.

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