6 Boating Safety Tips For A Busy Weekend On Lake

National Safe Boating Week is purposefully scheduled just prior to Memorial Day weekend. In 2016, there were 182 boating accidents reported in Missouri, with 104 injuries, and 16 fatalities. When boat drivers consider the effect their actions have on others, common sense, good judgment, and courtesy go a long way toward helping ensure the safety of all.

Here are some tips from the Patrol to help make the weekend safer for everyone:

1) Be a defensive boat operator ... creating distance from other boats equals more reaction time.

2) Adjust your speed for the conditions ... if visibility is poor, or the water is rough, slow down!

3) Turn off the boat while passengers are entering/exiting the water.

4) If you will be out on the water after dark, check your navigation lights before you leave the dock or ramp.

5) Each boat operator is responsible for doing whatever they can to avoid an accident. Don’t expect other boats to move out of your way.

6) Be courteous with your wake.

In addition to making sure your boat equipment is in compliance with state law, make sure you are familiar with laws regarding boat operation and traditional navigational rules. Remember: Missouri law requires everyone born after January 1, 1984, who operates a vessel on Missouri lakes to possess an approved boating safety identification card and photo ID.

Personal flotation devices for everyone on board is a must. Children under seven years old are required to wear a personal flotation device in a boat, but the Patrol points out you are never too old to wear a life jacket.

Life jackets are now lighter, less obtrusive, and more comfortable than ever. New inflatable life jackets allow mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, or paddling, and are much cooler in the warmer weather. There are many different varieties of inflatable jackets ranging from those that inflate instantly when submerged in the water to those that are manually inflated. Although not required by law, children playing along the shoreline or on a dock should wear a life jacket. A drowning can occur quickly, with little or no sign the victim is struggling. It is important for each boat operator to know the capabilities of their boat. Reducing your speed in unfamiliar areas and being aware of unusual water conditions respective to the size and type of boat you operate are just a couple of environmental considerations.

“Environmental factors can cause boater fatigue,” said Colonel Karsten. “Being in the sun, the wind, and experiencing the constant wave action, affects every vessel operator. When you combine alcohol with boater fatigue your reaction time and thought process becomes even slower. Please enjoy our state’s beautiful waterways, but designate a sober captain if you choose to consume alcohol.”

Boaters are reminded to contact the Missouri State Highway Patrol by dialing *55 on a cellular phone if they need assistance or observe another boater operating a vessel in an unsafe manner.

Read the article on LakeExpo.com

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