Forsyth County father encourages boat safety after daughter killed in accident

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FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. -- Mark Ayers still remembers the last conversation he had with his daughter.

"‘I love you, have a good time.' 'I love you too.’ Last words out of my mouth were, 'Be safe, watch out for what's going on,’” Ayers said.

On July 3, 2016, his 17-year-old daughter Gabby Ayers died after a boating accident while jet skiing with a friend at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia.

The operator of the boat, Drewry Hall, faces several charges including operating a boat in a reckless manner.

"Pass some stricter laws and really make it stricter on boaters because they do need to take it seriously," Ayers said.

Ayers has now become an advocate for tougher boating laws especially around holiday weekends like July 4th.

"We call it the Super Bowl,” Ayers said. “It's when most people are going to be there. Most people are out and most people are ridiculous."

Within the next few months, he'll be part of several public service announcements in Virginia and North Carolina, promoting boating safety.

"My mission is definitely to bring awareness to the table,” he said.

Ayers says no matter how you're on the water this weekend, keep some things in mind.

"Watch your surroundings, wear a life jacket and don't drink and drive on the water," he said.

And most of all, he says, pay attention.

"The water has no lines on it, it has no stop signs,” Ayers said. “It has no yield signs."

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