Be mindful of traffic, safety on the river

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The temperatures are warming up, which means soon the May River will be packed with boat traffic.

The temperatures are warming up, which means soon the May River will be packed with boat traffic.

But before you put that boat in the water, do you know everything you should about our local waterways, what safety precautions you should take before you head to the sandbar, and what you should have on board before going for a ride?

If you are a boater, you probably know that the newly upgraded Oyster Factory Park has seen more traffic. Between boaters, both seasoned and new, as well as residents that want to come to the park to sit and enjoy the view, lots of folks are using the parking and the park.

If you are planning a day at the park this summer, please take note of the parking situation, because, if there is nowhere to park your car and trailer, you will need to keep going to All Joy Landing or one of our other boat ramps and use them for getting out on the river.

We will be monitoring this situation throughout the summer, so it is important you look around before you put your boat in the water and then realize that there is no place to park your vehicle and trailer.

The May River is one of our most precious assets of Bluffton. While we want everyone to enjoy the river and the summer, most importantly, we want everyone to be safe.

That's why two years ago, the Bluffton Police Department began the Bluffton Safety Day event. This year it will take place May 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Oyster Factory Park.

There will be food available for purchase, music, and tons of water experts to answer all your questions. Several boats will also be on display for the kids to climb into. The local organizations that will have boats on display include the Bluffton Police Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Natural Resources and the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office. The Bluffton Fire Department will also be there with a fire truck on display.

While the U.S. Coast Guard will have a boat on display, they will also be giving a rescue simulation in middle of the May River and will be providing free boat inspections. You can bring your boat on a trailer to be inspected, or you can drive it up to the pier and have it checked.

In addition, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office will be collecting old boat flares so they can be properly disposed.

It's a day for the entire family to come out, learn and have fun.

Lisa Sulka is the mayor of the Town of Bluffton.

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