Be mindful of boat safety for Labor Day weekend

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Officials expect a lot of boats out in the water. But in Yankton, it's not just motor boats in the lake, but sailors riding the waves and wind.

YANKTON, S.D. (KCAU) – With a holiday weekend coming up many Siouxlanders may be planning to take to the water for Labor Day.

A conservation officer said he expects to see a lot of boats out in the water next weekend, but in Yankton, it’s not just motorboats in the lake, but sailors riding the waves and wind.

“We’re all out here for a good time,” said Nesheim.

Mike Nesheim is a sailor. He said sailing is more dangerous when the lake is full of boats.

“There are more powerboats sometimes. Power boats don’t give us the room that we need, or they try to get too close to us. So us, as sailors, we appreciate when they give us more room, especially when there is less wind out there,” said Nesheim.

It’s one of many precautions Yankton Supervisor Conservation Officer Dan Altman said people should take into consideration next weekend.

“It’s very hard to have fun if something bad happens, so it’s always best to take a little bit of time. Make sure you are prepared. Make sure you have enough life jackets on your boat. Make sure all of your equipment is in order, that way you can have the fun day that you set out to have,” Altman said.

“We always have our life jackets on obviously. Not drinking when you are on the water. It affects you a lot more than you think once you are out there on the water,” said Nesheim.

Altman said prior to sailing, it’s important to make sure you know the rules of the water, like when and how to pass another boat, what each marker means in the water, and what types of boats have right of way.

“A lot of time when we are dealing with boating accidents, aside from alcohol, a lot of times the cause of those accidents is a violation of a navigation rule,” said Altman.

“It’s gonna probably be pretty busy. Labor Day is usually the last big push on the lake, so it’s usually a really busy weekend out here,” said Nesheim.

Altman said they will be checking to see if there are enough life jackets for all passengers on boats, which is a law in South Dakota.

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