STORM LAKE, Iowa (KCAU)-With the Fourth of July on Thursday, many folks will be out enjoying themselves on the water. Keeping themselves and others safe should be a focus for those operating boats and jet skis.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources in Storm Lake is expecting a busy holiday on the water. Officers said they’ll be patrolling the water with a watchful eye on those enjoying an alcoholic beverage while on the water.
“My family invited me back this year so I said yeah I wanna get out on the water,” said Storm Lake visitor Julie Haefner.
Haefner has grown up visiting storm lake with her family over the years.
Wearing a life jacket out on the lake is a top priority for Haefner.
“For your own protection, you know it’s just what you should do, you wanna go out, you wanna have fun but you wanna be safe above all else,” said Haefner.
That’s why the iowa department of natural resources plans on having extra staff this weekend to help patrol the lake.
“Number one make sure you’re not intoxicated or the operator of the boat of the boat is not intoxicated, and use a designated driver. Number two make sure you have lifejackets for everyone on board and make sure they are in use,” said Brent Koppie a Storm Lake DNR officer.
Those out on the water who are not following the rules will face consequences according to officer Koppie.
“Fines and jail time in addition to that, boating while intoxicated you could also lose your boating privileges for a certain period of time,” said Koppie.
The DNR is reminding boaters to also be aware and show respect to others who will be on the water.
“You just need to pay extra attention to everybody and everything the water and be aware of your surroundings,” said Koppie.
“People are not always paying as much attention as they should so its important that you watch out for yourself,” said Haefner.
For the Heafner family staying safe on the water is a habit they don’t plan on breaking.
“Go out have fun, put your life jackets on, so you can all go home and have a picnic and barbeque and celebrate and have a wonderful Fourth of July,” said Haefner.
The Storm lake DNR is expecting several hundred boats on the water and with more boats, they plan to see an increase in violations. They are uring those on the water to take their time and be cautious of those around them.