Boat safety tips for Memorial Day weekend

FILE: Tubing is a popular activity on lakes across the country.

WHITE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – Indiana Conservation Officers joined other states in observing National Safe Boating week. The public awareness campaign just so happens to fall on the weekend that some consider the kickoff to boating season.

Conservation officers are reminding boaters to know the rules of the water and offering a few tips for a safe excursion.

District 3 Indiana Conservation Officer Matt Tholen said, “You might have the most experience in boat operating on the whole lake but it’s the other operators you gotta watch out for.”

Not everyone knows the laws. Officers remind boat operators to have an updated boat registration available, one wearable life jacket for each person on the boat, and a fire extinguisher on board.

Drinking alcohol is allowed on the boat but operators must stay under the legal limit. Conservation officers strongly suggest a designated driver.

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.

Indiana Conservation Officers offer the following safe boating tips:
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 entering or exiting the water.
4. If you could still be out on the water after dark, check your navigational lights before leaving the dock or ramp.
5. Each boat operator is responsible for doing whatever they can to avoid an accident. Don’t expect other boaters to move out of your way.
6. Be courteous with your wake.

Boaters are reminded to contact 9-1-1 in an emergency or Indiana Conservation Officers Central Dispatch at 812-837-9536 if they need assistance or observe another boat operator acting in an unsafe manner.

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