DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) — The busiest time for being in the water for boaters, paddlers, swimmers and people fishing is upon us and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources would like to remind everyone to be cautious and have a plan set in place while out there.
“We urge boaters…including passengers…to remain alert to activity around them. Don’t overload your craft. The U.S. Coast Guard, along with manufacturers, determines the capacity of each boat and it is visible on virtually all boats. Watch for objects at or just below the surface. The rain and runoff may have washed logs or other debris into the water or moved previous obstacles to different locations,” advises Susan Stocker, boating law administrator for the Department of Natural Resources.
Boating operators can review the rules and regulations, by taking the DNR boating safety course. According to the Iowa DNR, it is a law requirement that anyone operating a boat over ten horsepower or personal watercraft from ages 12 to 17 need to successfully complete the education program.
Stocker also wants to remind everyone that whoever is on board needs to be wearing a properly fitted lifejacket as it is urged by safety officials that they are worn.
“It is similar to seat belts on the road. You won’t have time to grab it and put it on when facing an emergency situation,” she said.
Even if others are paddling, fishing or swimming should also wear a lifejacket to avoid problems, especially when there’s a lot of boat traffic.
“With the variety of activities out there, a life jacket provides added safety while you are enjoying yourself,” said Stocker.
When alcohol is involved, the tiring effects of the sun, waves and wind will become greater.
Stocker warns everyone that, “Alcohol has a dehydration effect. It can impede judgment. A sober designated boat operator is vital on board.”
With more than 231,000 registered boats in Iowa, many of them will be out over the weekends and the upcoming holidays. Everyone will stay safe on the water, with everyone aware.
For boating tips from the Iowa DNR to stay safe click here.